The Wizards fired Head Coach Flip Saunders Wednesday after starting the season 2-14.
At this time a week ago the Wiz were coming off their best game of the season: a 105-102 home win against the surging Thunder. After that they lost two close home games against the Nuggets and Celtics. Things were starting to look better. John Wall was being more assertive, Andray Blatche was playing less, and Flip looked like he was in control of the team.
Then came Mondays loss in Philly.
The 76er’s have matched up against the Wiz very favorably this season, beating the Wiz in all three regular season games by at least 13 points (and winning twice during the preseason). Their ability to run-and-gun combined with the Wizards’ terrible rebounding and defensive skills has led to blowouts. But after their 103-83 dismantling of the Wiz-kids something needed to change.
Flip was fired by ownership and GM Ernie Grunfeld as they’ve promoted Assistant Coach Randy Wittman to Interim Head Coach.
“I felt like at this time, our players were not responding, and I think we needed a different voice. This doesn’t change our overall plan, which always has been very transparent for us, which is to build through the draft, get salary-cap space going forward and develop our young players,” Wizards president/GM Ernie Grunfeld said. “They probably haven’t developed as quickly as we’d like for them to develop. That’s something we need to continue to work on.”
Throwing the coach under the bus is what happens in the NBA. No one was surprised by Flip’s firing, most people agreed it was time for him to go, myself included. Still, none of this is Flip’s fault. When he signed on to be the Wizards coach we had a playoff caliber roster, a superstar face of the franchise, and a veteran team that knew how to win in the NBA.
Currently the roster the Wiz have assembled is full of:
- Guys who need 20+ shots to be effective, ergo ineffective players.
- Guys who can’t, won’t, or don’t know how to play defense.
- Andray Blatche
- A very raw, developing superstar in John Wall.
- And little to no veteran leadership.
This isn’t what Flip signed up for ad I wish him the best. My only hope now is that Wizards owner Ted Leonsis comes to his senses and dismisses Ernie Grunfeld. Yes, Ernie swung for the fences and missed with Arenas, but the roster he had before Arenas broke down/went crazy wasn’t going to contend for a championship anyway.
It’s time for a new direction. Whoever the new coach is should be able to work with and trust his GM. When the time comes Ernie needs to go and the Wizards need to move on.
Until then the Wiz will be flat-out terrible.
Coming Up: Bobcats(D.C.), @ Rockets, @ Bobcats
About the Author
Written by Frank Sullivan
Frank is a graduate of Old Dominion University, sports fan, author, and founder of TheBloosh.com. He's been working with prosportsblogging.com since April 2011, and has covered the Chicago Bulls, Baltimore Ravens, Virginia Tech Hokies Football, and the Washington Wizards. Frank can be reached @franksullivan on twitter.