Randy Wittman

Wizard’s Wittman tries to keep perspective on 2-15 start


The Washington Wizards are a league-worst 2-15, a team not exactly deep with talent to start now beset by injuries, a team where the healthy veterans are not living up to their billing and the young players look like young players.

Often that is when a coach feels pressure, although Wittman shouldn’t. For one, it’s not his fault there isn’t much talent on the roster and the real talent they do have has been injured. Plus, he is in the first year of his deal and the Wizards are still paying off the last year of Flip Saunders deal, that’s a lot of money for coaches already. Besides, a new coach isn’t changing the situation here.

Wittman, for his part, told CSNWashington.com he is trying to keep things in perspective.

“There is a lot going on out there in the real world that kind of brings you back to reality,” Wittman said before the 2-15 Wizards boarded a flight for New Orleans, where they will take on the 5-14 Hornets Tuesday night.

“From Kevin McHale losing his daughter to the Kansas City situation, the Dallas situation. There are a lot of things that are a lot more important than winning and losing a game, although that’s our livelihood.”

He’s right. Basketball is not life and death. It should not ever be so. I’ve always been a fan of the Bob Costas line: If you say a tragedy in the sports world brings it into perspective, then you lost your perspective to start with.

But it is a competitive business and right now the Wizards are not competitive. If they don’t become so over the course of this season, things will get a lot more serious for Wittman and other Wizards personnel.

Kings pick up option on G Ben McLemore

Ben McLemore, Rodney Hood
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Sacramento have picked up the 2016-17 option on guard Ben McLemore‘s contract.

General manager Vlade Divac announced the move Saturday.

McLemore was Sacramento’s first-round pick in 2013. He averaged 12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season.

Paul George reiterates “I don’t know if I’m cut out for a four spot”

Paul George

In the Pacers first exhibition game of the season Saturday against the Pelicans, Paul George started at the power forward spot and looked healthy — that should be the big takeaway. He also showed off his offensive game in the first quarter, eventually finishing the night with 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting. He forced some shots in the second half and had some defensive challenges, but it was a solid outing for a first preseason game.

George did not see it that way, and that will end up being the big takeaway.

He complained about playing power forward during training camp and given the chance after this one game he did it again, as reported by Candace Buckner of the Indy Star.

“I don’t know if I’m cut out for a four spot,” George said after the Pacers’ 110-105 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, a game in which he started matched up against 6-foot-11 All-Star Anthony Davis.

“I don’t know if this is my position. We’ll sit and watch tape and I’m sure I’ll talk with coach (Frank Vogel). I’ll talk with Larry (Bird) as well to get both their inputs on how the first game went but…I’m still not comfortable with it regardless of the situation. It’s still something I have to adjust to or maybe not. Or maybe it’s something we can go away from.”

George sees himself as a wing, where he has played his entire career. He doesn’t like defending traditional fours, as a scorer he doesn’t like expending all that energy defending pick-and-rolls and banging with bigger bodies. He’s been clear about that.

He still needs to be open to the idea. How much time George gets at the four on any given night should depend on the matchup — and Anthony Davis is about as rough a matchup as he is going to see. Davis scored 18 points in 15 minutes, and the Pelicans controlled the paint against the small-ball Pacers. George had a hard time defending Davis — welcome to a rather large club, PG. That said, George scored 12 points in the first quarter mostly with Davis on him, he pulled the big out in space and got what he wanted.

Back to the matchups point, George will struggle defensively against the best fours in the game (most of whom are in the West). But what about the nights in the East when George would be matched up on Thaddeus Young from Brooklyn, Jared Sullinger (or David Lee, or whoever) from Boston, or Aaron Gordon with the Magic, or Carmelo Anthony with the Knicks when they play small? There are a lot of lineups the Pacers will see where George at the four makes sense.

The Pacers are transitioning from a plodding and defensive-minded squad to a more up-tempo style, and that’s going to take time— a lot more than one preseason game. However, if George is throwing cold water on the plan after this one effort, it might take a lot longer and be a lot bumpier to make that transition than we pictured.