Specifically I am alluding to Wall’s penchant to shoot midrange jump shots very early in the shot clock and Beal’s massive struggles in the pick and roll. Both of these problems are very clear to the regular observer and there seems to be a way to fix them, effectively making them better players.
Let’s start with Wall. Throughout his career he has been a highly ineffective jump shooter, but to his credit he has been working tirelessly on it. Nevertheless you want to magnify your players strengths in this league and limiting Wall’s driving abilities and having him shoot 10 midrange jump shots a game is not helping this team. I constantly find myself yelling "noooooooo, drive the damn ball" every time Wall pulls up for a jumper with 16 seconds or so on the shot clock.
I understand the need for the defense to respect his jumper but it is more than that now as the pull up from midrange is his go to move. What I don’t understand is the seemingly dire need to shoot every midrange jumper, usually early in the shot clock, every time it is there. Reset the pick and roll. Swing the ball around. Drive to the hole! Teams are respecting his shot enough now that he now has some space to work with and taking the early jumper isn’t a necessity.
Speaking of midrange jumpshots…….Beal while an extremely good shooter also settles for an insane amount of contested midrange jump shots off the pick and roll. Beal has other options besides that shot and he needs to start using them more often. He is a great athlete and he needs to use that athleticism to get around the screen and penetrate. He also constantly misses bigs as they roll because he has already decided he is going to shoot as soon as he gets around that screen. Beal is more than a midrange shooter but he is starting to become one dimensional to the point I find myself ecstatic, yet surprised when he does in fact get in the lane and consequently finish.
This raises the question if it is obvious to the fan what the problem is with how these players are playing shouldn’t it be obvious to the coaching staff? And shouldn’t they be able to help these players manage these problems? Wittman seems to be encouraging that jump shot by Wall and the fact that a midrange jumper seems to be option 1, 2 , and 3 off the p&r for Beal tells me that coaches aren’t doing enough to develop these players. It often seems for these guys that it is up to themselves to completely figure out how they should be playing the game. Yes, this is a players league and a lot is up to individual players but it seems like the coaching staff isn’t giving them much help in their development.
To me, this fundamental difference in how Wall and Beal are playing in certain aspects of their game, and how many basketball minds think they should be playing comes back to the coaching staff and their struggles with developing players. I do not believe Wittman and his staff know how to properly develop a player and it is hurting this team…Another example would be Seraphin who stayed in DC all summer to work with Wizards coaches and he might have actually regressed as a player.
To me Wittman as our head coach is a problem and will continue to be one. He does get a lot out of our players and seems to be well liked but this is a superstar driven league and I believe it will be much harder for Wall and Beal to become superstars with Wittman on board. I wonder how far along they would be if they had a more developmental savvy group of coaches around them. And to me this is Wittman’s ultimate shortcoming and why he should be let go at least by the end of this season, 8th seed or not.