#WizardsTalk: Will Wall return?
The last time the Wizards had a 2-15 record, Flip Saunders was fired as head coach and replaced by … the next coach to have a 2-15 record to start the season.
Seems the more things change for the Wizards the more they stay the same.
On Monday, Wizards coach Randy Wittman literally had his back to the wall as he tried to describe the emotions of having the worst record in the NBA for a second straight season. He was elevated from assistant coach to head coach following Saunders’ firing last season.
“There is a lot going on out there in the real world that kind of brings you back to reality,” Wittman said before the 2-15 Wizards boarded a flight for New Orleans, where they will take on the 5-14 Hornets Tuesday night.
“From Kevin McHale losing his daughter to the Kansas City situation, the Dallas situation. There are a lot of things that are a lot more important than winning and losing a game, although that’s our livelihood.”
Indeed, in the span of two weeks, McHale, the coach of the Houston Rockets, lost his 23-year-old daughter, Sasha, to complications from Lupus; Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher murdered his girlfriend before taking his own life; and Cowboys linebacker Jerry Brown was killed in an auto crash in which his teammate, Josh Brent, was charged with intoxicated manslaughter.
All life-altering events that make a 2-15 start seem trivial.
Still, Wittman says it is his job to win basketball games, regardless of the obstacles that have been placed in front of him.
Like not having his best player, John Wall, for the first two months of the season; getting limited action from Brazilian big man Nene; and having Trevor Ariza and A.J. Price taken from his lineup with injuries that could take four weeks to heal.
“It’s tough, but it is what it is,” Wittman said. “This is a non-excuse league, as much as you think you can blame it on that.
“Is it the best-case scenario? No. But it is what it is and I’ve got to make the most of it. I’ve got to try to put these guys that are now available in the right positions that best suit them and their talent.”
On Monday, that meant running a practice without Kevin Seraphin, who fell ill over the weekend. It was a minor inconvenience to a team that has not been healthy since the season began back on Oct. 30.
“Having a full roster would be nice,” Wizards center Emeka Okafor said. “We’ve been hit earlier on [in the season] than most team would like to have. We’ve all been on teams that have had injuries and we understand the dynamics of that. You can’t go around thinking ‘what if.’ It’s ‘what is.’”
Wittman said he’ll continue plugging away because, well, he doesn’t know any other way.
“Listen, you get up every morning and all I do is try to prepare these guys and put them in the best position I can utilize them and I’ll continue to do that,” he said. “I mean, that’s my job. I’m a pretty stubborn-willed guy and I don’t give in to injuries or circumstances. Two and fifteen? Losing close games? My job is to push the right buttons to get some more wins.”