It was a trying year," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said following the Heat win. "Anytime you go through a situation where a coach is dismissed, have some trades, a few players on 10-day contracts, and injuries, is hard. You never know how the season is going to transpire."
The Wizards never gave themselves a chance this season after a 2-15 start, which led to the dismissal of coach Flip Saunders. The Wizards also unloaded at one time core players, center JaVale McGee and guard Nick Young, at the trade deadline and they brought in Brazilian center Nene from Denver. Veteran forward Andray Blatche missed most of the second half of the season because of conditioning, and the same for Rashard Lewis who had a sore knee.
"No disrespect to any guys we had before, but everything changed," Wizards point guard John Wall said about the mid-season personnel changes. "We were more serious in the locker room, on the court.Everybodyplayed together and just wanted to win."
Wall's play was often sluggish in the first half of the season but he picked it up in the second half and helped the team go 18-31 under Wittman's watch. Wall's overall statistics were down from his rookie campaign but Wittman saw progress in his court leadership.
"He took a huge step and nobody really understands when you get a player if he is ever going tounderstand and pick up being the quarterback on the floor to the point where the coach doesn't have to doeverythingand call every play," Wittman said about Wall. "He needs to have feels for who's hot and who's not. What play to get that guy in a position to score, and John madeleapsand bounds with that this year. That's huge in being a top-caliber point guard."
Wall had 12 assists in the win over Miami and he went five straight games with double- digits in assists to close the season.
Will Wittman be around to coach Wall next season?
The Wizards could get used to this winning thing but unfortunately it will have to wait until next year because the 66-game lockout shortened season is over. They closed out the 2011-12 year with six straight victories, finishing with a 104-70 win over the starters rested Miami Heat Thursday night. Even with the best win-streak since 2007, the Wizards finished the season with a 20-46 record, second worst in the NBA.
"Yes, I likecoachWittman as a coach it would be nice to have him back," Wall said. "Hewantedus to play hard and as a team and once we started doing those things we see the season change around for us and start winning more games."