In news that will come as a shock to no one, the Wizards are parting ways with Randy Wittman, according to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post. The news comes less than an hour after the Wizards completed their 2015-16 campaign, where they finished a disappointing 41-41.
Wittman was named the Wizards' interim head coach in the 2011-12 season when his predecessor, the late Flip Saunders was fired after a 2-15 start. He ultimately was named the permanent head coach after that season. In four and a half seasons, Wittman had a 178-199 record.
During his time in Washington, Wittman led the Wizards to two consecutive playoff appearances in 2013-14 and 2014-15 and made the second round both seasons. In the 2014-15 season, the Wizards were 46-36, their best regular season since 1978-79.
I have always liked Wittman's "back to basics" and defense-first coaching style. Because of that style, the Wizards were among the Top 10 teams in defensive rating from the 2012-13 through 2014-15 NBA seasons. In 2015-16, they were 17th in defensive rating, though they improved to 5th after the All-Star Break when they acquired Markieff Morris.
However, Washington's offense was among the NBA's worst during his tenure. Their best performance came in the 2013-14 season when they were 17th in offensive rating.
Ultimately, this news does not come as a surprise since it was reported by multiple outlets that a move was likely. Furthermore, Wittman and his coaching staff were considered by many league insiders to be among the weakest in the NBA.
With a major offseason looming, Wittman's termination does not solve all of the Wizards' problems. But it does pave the way for John Wall and Bradley Beal to develop under another coach as they enter their primes and a new head coach could be an attraction for prospective free agents down the road.