The amount of negativity towards Grunfeld and Wittman on this site absolutely amazes me. I don’t know what more these guys can do, given the crappy situations both these guys inherited. Take a step back and look at the big picture:
Ernie inherits a flaming piece of dog doo from MJ, but within 3 seasons he has the team back to respectability by shrewdly acquiring (and maintaining: Kwame for Caron!!!) the Big Three. The team has some decent years, then Gungate happens, and Ernie is forced to blow up the team and begin a rebuilding process. The fruits of these dismal rebuilding years are just now starting to show themselves, but now everyone on this site is screaming for Grunfeld’s head, just as the team is starting to turn the corner.
Wittman inherits a crappy team in the middle of this rebuilding process, made especially crappy because of the loss of his best player for the first half of the season. During this stretch, even though the team has an absolutely miserable W-L record, the team rarely loses by large margins even though on paper they should be blown out every night. In the second half of the season with the return of his #1 player, Wittman has the team playing .500 ball. Throughout the whole season, the team shows tremendous hustle and fight, and incredibly starts playing very good defense after basically not having any kind of defensive culture for about a decade. Now here we are in the middle of Witt’s second year with the team showing even more progress (including actually winning road games) and all people talk about on this site is how Wittman is a sorry coach and we need a big name coach if we want to be a good team. Well, we tried that once: Flip Saunders. And how did that work out?
A big name coach is not a magic bullet. Most so-called big name coaches have/had big name players: think Popavich, Doc Rivers, Phil Jackson etc.). Meanwhile, look at most of today’s elite teams, do they have “big-name” coaches? No. Eric Spoelstra? Scotty Brooks? Frank Vogel? These guys had no reputations prior to taking over their teams and look where they are now. You need good players in order to become a big name coach. The Bullets first and foremost need some of their players to come around and that’s just what’s starting to happen this season with the emergence of John Wall as an elite point guard, Bradley Beal showing some signs, Trevor Ariza having a career year, and Nene playing well (when healthy).
Believe me, being a Bullets fan since 1977, I know how brutal it is to be a Bullets fan, probably more so than most people on this site. I know that the Bullets aren’t a great team right now, maybe not quite even a good team, but if you take a step back and look at the big picture, the trend is upwards right now with Grunfeld and Wittman at the helm. Give this team another couple seasons of continuity, and they will become a good team. Two seasons from now, if the Bullets are still that team that is flirting with .500 and barely making (or missing) the playoffs, I will be convinced that the front office and coach need to go a different direction, but for right now, let’s at least let Ernie and Witt finish their rebuilding project and continue the ride upward.