Midseason grades: Randy Wittman, the man in charge

USA TODAY Sports

Randy Wittman has continued to get his Wizards to play hard, particularly defensively, but his in-game management often leaves something to be desired. We evaluate his strengths and weaknesses.

It's not technically midseason, but with this being the all-star break, we could think of no better time than to issue midseason report cards. In this edition: Randy Wittman, the man in charge of it all.

The Good

Despite all the losing, Wittman continues to get his team to play hard. That's no small feat, especially considering that Wittman's short contract doesn't provide much job security. He continues to have the support of every single key player on the team, and we've yet to see the same kind of player burnout that dogged Wittman in Cleveland and Minnesota.

More specifically, it's a huge feather in Wittman's cap that the team is defending at such a high level. Washington is currently seventh in defensive efficiency for the season and first in the stretch that began with John Wall's return on January 12. Establishing a defensive culture isn't easy, but Wittman has done so since day 1 of training camp and has remained consistent with that message. New assistant Don Newman has brought smarter schemes, but it takes a head coach to impart the message over and over to his players.

The Bad

Wittman has struggled with in-game management all season. Earlier in the year, he took far too long to settle on a rotation, choosing instead to ride hot hands that quickly became cold. He also has often played bench players for too long at a time, and his team's late-game execution has been hit or miss.

Also, while talent is the main reason for the team's offensive problems, Wittman has sometimes compounded the issue with poor sets and overcoaching. It took Wittman over a month to drive the importance of pushing the ball to his team, and things didn't really improve significantly in that area until Wall returned.

Outlook

All things considered, Wittman has been pretty solid as the head man. There are still plenty of issues, and I would hardly rate him as one of the league's top coaches, but he also hasn't been the problem with the team this year. As always with Wittman, I expect him to continue to reach his team even as he pushes them hard.

How would you rate Wittman's job performance on a scale of 1-10, and what would you like to see from him in the second half of the season?

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