The Wizards scored just six fourth-quarter points in their loss to the Hornets last night.
John Wall and Bradley Beal rested for the first 4:42 of that final period.
Wall, via Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post:
“I feel like we can’t have me and Brad sitting,” said Wall, who finished with 14 points on 6 for 18 shooting, with six assists, five rebounds and four turnovers. “That’s just my opinion. Coach makes the decision he feels is best for us. I just feel like one of us has to be in in that situation because when you’re on the road, this is the time when you can step on them.
“I just feel like one of us has to be in. I don’t know. It’s just my opinion because our second unit was just so stagnant. And I’m not saying they lost the game. [Shoot], we all lost the game. We didn’t make shots. We were 1 for 20, right? I think we were just so stagnant. We really didn’t have anybody penetrating and creating.”
First of all, this is how you disagree with a coach. Wall made clear that he respects Randy Wittman’s authority to set the rotation. Two adults should be allowed to acknowledge their differing opinions without it being labeled a feud.
But is Wall right?
Per nbawowy!, here are Washington’s offensive/defensive/net ratings with:
- Wall and Beal: 103.0/105.0/-2.0 in 224 minutes
- Wall without Beal: 110.0/111.2/-1.2 in 134 minutes
- Beal without Wall: 80.2/116.8/-36.6 in 48 minutes
- Neither Wall nor Beal: 105.2/101.6/+3.6 in 123 minutes
The Wizards have been much better with neither player on the court this season. They’ve also been a disaster when Beal plays without Wall.
But this is a relatively small sample. Let’s look back to last season.
- Wall and Beal: 108.5/101.5/+7.0 in 1,715 minutes
- Wall without Beal: 103.0/102.0/+1.0 in 1,123 minutes
- Beal without Wall: 103.2/110.9/-7.7 in 384 minutes
- Neither Wall nor Beal: 97.0/107.0/-10.0 in 768 minutes
Washington was – by far – at its best when Wall and Beal shared the court. They just complement each other so well. The Wizards were also fine with just Wall, bad with just Beal and even worse with neither.
If I were the Wizards, I’d generally chance resting Wall and Beal simultaneously so they can play more together. If I’m using just one, it’s Wall. Beal is not a creator I trust to run the offense, and Wall’s defense is important.
But there’s a limit on how much Wall (and Beal) can play. Wall got 36 minutes against Charlotte, and Beal played 38.
To the point, Wall and Beal played the final 7:18 – and the Wizards didn’t make a single basket in that span. They scored just two points on free throws. So, it’s hard to argue Wall and Beal were the answer.
Wittman blamed the players more than his substitutions.
Wittman, via J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic:
“We don’t have guys that are making plays right now. Again, good looks but until we quit feeling sorry,” said Wittman, who could’ve gone this road after a 123-106 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday but didn’t. “When things go bad like that I had to twice in timeouts and tell them to lift their heads up. There’s plenty of time left. We’re up nine during this whole thing. We start feeling sorry, start pouting putting our heads down and it becomes a snowball. We got to grow up in that aspect of it. If the shot doesn’t go in, it doesn’t go in.
“Makes, misses, that’s the game. You never give in. We haven’t gotten over that. That’s been that way for the last couple of years. Guys don’t play well, put their heads down and we pout, feel sorry for ourselves.”
When Wittman previously called out a player publicly, Marcin Gortat didn’t take it well. I’m not sure this will go any better.
When confronted with Wittman’s words, Bradley Beal only would shake his head before giving this retort: “I’m not going to comment on that.”
It’s uncharacteristic of the fourth-year shooting guard, who’ll usually give some sort of answer and shrug it off. By saying nothing, he’s staying plenty.
The Wizards, who entered the season a contender for the Eastern Conference finals, are 6-6. They’ve lost two straight, by 17 and 14 – and the end of their last defeat was historically dreadful.
Is this a team in turmoil?
Michael provides plenty of context to that question.