Fanshots

Wittman seems safe for now

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The Wizards, while not quite living up to preseason expectations, have sufficiently rebounded from yet another slow start to the point that they're starting to look like what passes for a playoff team in the ugliest Leastern Conference in memory, which should get Wittman through the final year of his contract. Sources say, furthermore, that it's always been the preference of Wizards owner Ted Leonsis to complete the season without changing anything and then assess everything in the offseason with the deals of both Wittman and general manager Ernie Grunfeld expiring.

Marc Stein

Randy Wittman on the Gortat situation

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I don't know if it was a translation thing, but I talked to him, and what was written and what he said, he said they were two different things. Listen, every player goes through ups and downs of play. Marcin's going through a little bit of a period of downs. That correlates to Nene not being beside him, that plays an important role. When he was playing, in the game against New York, he had 17 points and 16 rebounds doing the same thing [as he has been doing]. He was playing well. I just think sometimes, when you go through a bad spell, you kind of point fingers somewhere. There's no question that he knows what his role is, and all those guys do. That's just what happens sometimes.

Randy Wittman responding to Marcin Gortat's comments about wanting the ball inside more. For the record, Gortat tweeted that the stories were "BS."

Al Harrington had a setback

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"We ramped him up here the last few days individually. He wanted to really push it," Wittman said. "Then, he had some soreness. Irritation came back real fast. So, that’s a little bit of a setback there."

Michael Lee of the Washington Post.

Are the Wizards better without Beal? -Quote from ESPN Rumors

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Don't look now, but the Washington Wizards are on a roll, winners of seven of their last nine games. And at 9-9, only Indiana and Miami have better records in the dreadful Eastern Conference. The curious part about the Wizards' recent run is that most of it has happened without Bradley Beal, who has missed the last week with a stress injury to his right fibula. Washington is 5-8 in the games with the second-year standout, and 4-1 since he went down. Is it simply the case of taking advantage of a soft schedule or is there more to it? Certainly the schedule does skew the win-loss record some -- since Beal went out, the Wizards have played the Los Angeles Lakers, Atlanta Hawks and Orlando Magic at home, winning them all, and snuck by Milwaukee on the road. Their only big test, a road game against Indiana, ended in a 20-point loss. That being said, the injury to Beal has forced Randy Wittman to go with a starting lineup that utilizes the five most efficient players on the team: John Wall, Nene Hilario, Trevor Ariza, Marcin Gortat and Martell Webster. Entering Wednesday, all five of them have a PER above the league average of 15. Beal, who only turned 20 over the summer, is certainly an advanced scorer for his age, but his lack of efficiency could become a concern if it doesn't start to show improvement. As a rookie, he finished with a respectable 13.69 PER with a 51.5 true shooting percentage, and the early going this year both of those numbers are down (13.62 PER and 50.7 TS%). One of the biggest reasons? Beal's penchant for settling for the long two. According to NBA.com, he has already attempted 80 shots in the 15-19 foot range this season, making only 25 (31.3 percent). To put that in perspective, only eight other starters in the league (LaMarcus Aldridge, Gerald Henderson, Jason Smith, Dirk Nowitzki, Wall, Al Horford, DeMar DeRozan and Carmelo Anthony) have attempted more long twos, and all of them are connecting at a higher rate. Taking it a step further, among the 50 starters in the league with the most "long two" attempts, Beal's shooting percentage is the lowest.

While Beal is clearly a key cornerstone for this team and needs to be playing major minutes this piece does bring up interesting points. Thoughts?

Zach Lowe loves Nene's dunks as much as we do!

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Nene's contract was a bit of an overpay, in part because he has endless health issues that limit his court time. But he's a damn good overall player, and I'm not sure anyone dunks with as much anger and arm-to-rim acceleration. It's like he's channeling all the frustration he feels over nagging injuries and burbling criticism of his game and fitness into out-and-out attacks on the rim. I'm worried he's going to hurt his wrist on one of those babies.

Grantland

Price: Wizards never called me

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"I left here thinking I was coming back," Price, now a backup with the Minnesota Timberwolves, said on Tuesday before making his lone visit to Washington to face his former team. Price said he never heard from the Wizards last summer after he posted career highs of 7.7 points and 3.6 assists, with 22 starts, "Which is kind of surprising."

Washington Post. The Wizards didn't like how Price held the ball too much instead of getting the Wizards into their offense, according to the article.

Wittman not quite on chopping block yet

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According to a person with knowledge of the Wizards thinking, Wittman still has some time to turn things around. The fact that Washington played six of its first eight games on the road did not help his cause, and their Tuesday night home game against the dangerous Minnesota Timberwolves will be the latest test on this front.

Sam Amick of USA Today.

Wall gives Wittman dreaded vote of confidence

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"Everybody believes in coach Witt. We understand what he did last year and what he was capable of when everybody was healthy," said point guard John Wall of 29 wins in 2012-2013 for a team that didn't have him, Nene and many others for long stretches. "As players we got to go out there and execute what he's given us as our game plan and what he wants us to be as a team. We haven't been doing that so far. We've only proved it in the two games we've won."

CSN Washington.

Leonsis on 'playoffs or bust'

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"Playoffs or bust, what does that mean?" Leonsis said. "Shut the team down if we don't make the playoffs for the Wizards? We would certainly, if we don't make the playoffs, for both teams we would do our due diligence in a more hypersensitive manner, right? Because we didn't meet our expectations. But the team's not going bust. The fan base isn't going bust. It would just heighten the scrutiny that we have to do."

From a WTOP interview
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