Interim coach Randy Wittman makes his Wizards debut on Wednesday night vs. the Bobcats. Before the game, Wittman spoke to the media about the challenges of taking over a 2-15 Washington team, and the process of building success going forward.
Wittman reiterated the message from his introductory press conference -- that he only chose to remain in Washington to coach this group because he believes the Wizards are better than their league-worst record indicates.
How will he turn it around? Some of his plans are blockquoted below for posterity.
On stepping in to replace Flip Saunders
"They feel just as bad about the situation, but we're all part of it. I was an assistant coach, I'm part of that, that failure. That affects me. It's gotta affect them. Now it's time to move forward. "
On the process of turning things around in Washington.
"There's no miracles. I don't have the magic touch. But it's going to be a process that's gotta start tonight. If we do that, if we have a full focus of changing and playing the way that we need to play, good things are gonna happen."
"What's happened in the past has happened. All these guys got a clean slate with me. What's happened before is over. We're 2-15 -- we can't do anything about that.
"The next two or three weeks are gonna dictate to me what that rotation is. On how they play, how they handle coaching. They're gonna dictate that to me. ... Guys that play and play hard, play the right way will be in the rotation. Guys that won't there's going to be somebody that's plugged in that will have to try to do that. That's what we have to do."
More on his plans to stress practice in the development of players.
"When you've got eight guys, nine guys on their rookie contract sometimes you have that balance of we need to develop these kids -- yes we need to develop these kids, there's no question about that -- but that development is going to be done on the practice floor. You've got to earn your minutes out here on the floor. You're not going to develop your game out there if we're not gonna do it the right way. Learn how to do it the right way, then you earn that time to develop your talent in a game. Is it easier to develop your talent live action? Abosolutely. But right now, I think we think, 'I'm a young kid they gotta play me. I'mma play the way I want to play.'"
On the difficulty of making changes given the lack of practice time this season.
"Well, it is. It's very difficult [not having practice time], especially in making changes. Not a lot a coach can do stepping in to change. I just want to simplify things for these guys. Flip's a great offensive mind that has a lot of things in his playbook. Right now we just got to simplify things, cut things down and learn to do those things first. And then you make your different changes as you move on. It's going to be tough. ... Shootarounds are going to have to be some practice days for us."