Randy Wittman led the Wizards
to the second round of the playoffs. (Rob Carr/NBAE/Getty Images)
The Wizards are nearing terms on a three-year extension for head coach Randy Wittman, according to Yahoo! Sports.
Under Wittman's guidance, Washington posted its best regular season record (44-38) and pulled off its first playoff series win since 2005. Overall, however, Wittman has led the Wizards to a 91-122 total record in his 2+ seasons since taking over head coaching responsibilities from Flip Saunders in 2012. That offers a fair summation of what has been a complicated turn for Wittman, who for all his imperfections coached Washington to top-10 defensive marks in each of the past two seasons.
Wittman deserves credit for that accomplishment, as well as his due for a playoff run in which his Wizards made quick work of the revered Bulls and then challenged the Pacers in the second round. Yet using an extension as a reward can be dangerous business, particularly when it's fair to wonder if Wittman really is the right coach to push Washington forward. Although the 23-year-old John Wall and 20-year-old Bradley Beal give the Wizards the air of an up-and-comer, this team was stocked with veterans: Nene, Marcin Gortat, Trevor Ariza, Martell Webster, Andre Miller, Drew Gooden and Al Harrington among them. Given that makeup, it's strange that Washington went through such wild oscillations throughout the season; teams so dependent on experienced contributors are expected to be level, and as such are held to a different standard of execution of both sides of the ball. The Wizards instead played like a younger, shakier team -- an inconsistency which doesn't reflect all that well on Wittman.
Still, Washington grew as a team under his watch, as did both Wall and Beal. The Wizards clearly value that kind of stewardship and understandably so given all that the franchise has been through in recent years. To lose Wittman -- whose deal was set to expire -- would require giving up the modicum of stability the Wizards have worked hard to establish. So he stays, and so the Wizards will look to improve upon the status quo rather than undergo any more serious structural change to the coaching staff.