After missing out on postseason action for four consecutive seasons prior to 2014, the Wizards have officially clinched a playoff spot for the second year in a row.
Their path to success this season has been mapped out distinctly: a top 5 point guard, a pretty solid front court, and a passable defense.
But there’s one aspect to Wizards basketball that’s quite extraordinary and borderline miraculous, yet overlooked by so many fans. It’s also something that could very well, and should very well spearhead the head coach that leads them, the recently coined “Mr. Wittman”, into becoming a serious candidate for Coach of the Year honors.
Most, if not all teams with title aspirations institute a critical basketball component within their game plan each night: drawing up and executing a strategically devised offensive scheme that fits the players who run it, along with a myriad of complexities that throw off defenses and keep coaches guessing. But these Washington Wizards, directed by the profoundness of their coach’s philosophy, have still managed to remain a team with a winning record, and in contention for a postseason run despite the lack of any of what I just mentioned in the previous sentence.
This, my friends, defines monumental – which is ironically the same term used as the name of the entity that employs Randy.
Iconic would be another accurate term to use when describing Wittman’s philosophy. What other coach can literally have his five guys go out on the floor with the same mentality and chemistry of a group of random guys at the Y who called ‘next’? And my Lord the way he bluffs with the clipboard during timeouts is brilliantly entertaining as well. I mean, face it, while opposing teams and the CSN camera man panning around the team huddle during timeouts assume Wittman is scribbling X’s and O’s, what we don’t realize is that the team is the midst of a season-long Hangman tournament which is finally coming down to the wire in these final eight games (word has it that Otto Porter and head of security, Jackie Miles, have been at it toe-to-toe since the All-Star Break). That, or Rasual Butler asked someone about a good ribs joint in the city and Wittman conveniently drew up a map that directs him from the Verizon Center to ‘Ribs-n-Things’ over on Rhode Island Avenue.
Who knows. It doesn’t matter. Regardless, the Wizards come out of timeouts with the same approach every time: move the ball and find your shot according to how the defense plays you. Never dictate the ball. The 3-point line is substantially distant from the rim and the probability of making it from that far is very little – avoid it.
If the Wizards get a stop on defense, they’ll run the ball in transition, and fortunately, they run with it well. But if the pace slows down on them and they’re forced into a half-court set, rinse and repeat above. It’s simple. And simplicity has done the Wizards no harm. After all, they’ve won more games than they’ve lost and, moreover, they’re right in the thick of an astoundingly competitive Eastern Conference playoff race, all accomplished without the value of a respectable offensive strategy.
What other coach can fulfill such success? What other coach can be as gifted to withstand the absence of an offensive game plan yet still conduct his team to so many wins? I’ll wait.
Additionally, Randy’s demeanor in front of the media matches the appeal of just about any celebrity coach in all of sports. Sure, he comes off a bit asshole-ish and snarky but how about we stop asking him stupid questions? The offense is a problem? To hell with you with that outlandish assumption. Questioning the rotation? That’s his call.
On this first day of April, Randy Wittman should be exalted for his unconventional philosophy and you all know it. His team is trucking into the postseason with the illusion of a thousand offenses yet there doesn’t exist one. It’s time he’s celebrated for it. Crown him.