Whenever something goes wrong with the Wizards, you can count on Randy Wittman or someone else to suggest that they are playing too selfishly instead of "together" or "the right way" or some other cliche. That was no different after the Wizards' disheartening 114-107 loss to the Houston Rockets, during which they fell behind by 25 points, made a furious rally to take the lead, only to lose it again late:
"But the main point is, at home here, we just have no - I don't know what the term [is]. Sense of urgency of coming home and protecting home. And we don't. We just go out and play like it's an AAU game. Kevin came in and gave us a big lift. There's no question he played well. One of his better games. But we've got to figure those other things out. There's no excuse for the way we're playing."
Wittman used a number of other phrases like "nonchalant," "shortcut" and "sense of urgency," all codewords for "something bad" rather than a specific critique. This happens a lot in postgame press conferences.
Nevertheless, it's still tiring. I don't think the Wizards lose games because of their disposition or because they are playing selfishly. This is a veteran team filled with guys brought in because they are willing to sacrifice, or at least that's how many of these moves were sold. They don't have knuckleheads that only care about their own numbers. They don't have shot-jackers that break the offense and go alone. Even Bradley Beal's bad two-point jumpers are out of the flow of the offense.
No, the problem is they aren't very good. Only John Wall can tilt a defense from the perimeter. Only Nene can do so from the post, and teams are increasingly figuring out how to double him while cutting off his passing lanes. Only Martell Webster and Beal are shooting threats that get defenses on guard, and neither are used enough as decoys on the move in Wittman's offensive sets. (Think of how the Hawks use Kyle Korver or the Clippers use J.J. Redick. Their off-ball movement opens up opportunities for others). Only Marcin Gortat is a threat diving to the rim, and the Wizards keep going away from that skill to try to give more pick and roll reps to Beal as he develops bad habits.
Hell, if anything, the only reason the Wizards got back into the game was because they played it like an AAU game, if you define that as a constant up and down game where set offense isn't run, players attack without a coherent half-court set and the like. The more structure there was last night, the worse the Wizards were. The critique, if taken at face value, doesn't even make much sense.
I don't expect Wittman to diagnose the team's specific problems in a press conference, but a coach only gets so many chances to go back to the "we're selfish" well before he becomes the problem.
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