Wizards coach Randy Wittman came into this season on the hot seat — owner Ted Leonsis wanted to make the playoffs now and wanted to see development from John Wall and Bradley Beal.
He got it.
The Wizards played Top 10 defense, won 44 games and got the five seed in the East — then knocked off the Bulls in the first round. They made the Pacers work for it in the second round. Yes, the East was down, but the fact is the Wizards were improved and showed it in the playoffs.
As expected, that is earning Wittman a contract extension, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo sports.
Wittman has his critics — his team takes too many midrange jumpers, for one — but he has earned this extension.
How good the Wizards are next season may be less about Wittman — or even Wall and Beal — and more about offseason moves. Both Trevor Ariza and Marcin Gortat (both of whom played key roles in the playoffs) are free agents. Do the Wizards bring them back, or does GM Ernie Grunfeld spend his available $16 million in salary cap space the team has on other free agents? How much does Leonsis let him spend?
Whatever the roster, Wittman will be the coach. He’s earned that.
LeBron James sat out the Cavs’ preseason game against the Sixers on Thursday night, but Cleveland still held the lead for all but the final 5.4 seconds. Then, Sixers rookie Scottie Wilbekin did this:
Wilbekin, who played college ball at Florida, has a chance to earn legitimate minutes for the Sixers this season as they try to find young talent on the cheap. This is a good start.
Eight days ago, Derrick Rose had surgery to repair a fractured orbital bone suffered in training camp. The Bulls said he would be ready to resume basketball activities in two weeks, and in the meantime will rejoin practice soon. That part is still on schedule — head coach Fred Hoiberg says Rose will be with the team when they return to Chicago on Monday following a two-game preseason road trip, but unless the swelling in his eye dies down, it could be a little longer before he can start practicing again.
Via K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:
It’s not ideal, but since there’s no structural damage to Rose’s face, once he’s cleared to resume practicing, it’s just a matter of getting back into game shape before he can start playing in games. The team is still optimistic he’ll be able to play opening night against the Cavaliers on October 27.