With the Washington Wizards on the verge of staging their first postseason appearance since the 2007-2008 season, you might think all was storybook in the nation’s capital.
Yeah, right. Things are about as calm as they typically are on any given day in the U.S. Congress. More to the point, Wiz coach Randy Wittman is publicly taking star players John Wall and Bradley Beal to task for what he perceives as their lack of effort in the wake of the team already having wrapped up at least the No. 7 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference.
“When you don’t put effort in, you’re not going to have good showings,” Wittman told Fansided.com. “It just filters down. You can’t play with no energy or effort at one end of the floor and expect to turn it on at the other end of the floor. It doesn’t work that way. That’s been proven with these guys.”
The Wizards have now dropped back-to-back home games to Chicago and Charlotte, not the most egregious thing in the NBA universe given their likewise payoff bound distinction, it’s just that Wittman has come to expect more from his team—at least in the effort department.
“It was almost like we were spinning our wheels in mud,” he added. “We just didn’t come out with any enthusiasm. I don’t even know if they had a sweat broken at the jump ball.”
Overall, the Wizards (40-38) have now dropped three of their last five, with two of the losses coming against Michael Jordan’s Bobcats, a team that has seemed to have had Wall’s number all season long.
“Nothing really,” Wall said when asked what he feels the Bobcats seem to do perhaps better than most to slow him down a bit. “They just tried to trap me and get the ball out my hands so when I get the opportunity, you got to make your shots when you take them. I missed a couple in the fourth quarter, I made a couple to get myself going and kind of get us back into the game.”
Some see all Wittman’s lamenting as a ploy to keep his team motivated for what could be their shining moment. In the coach’s mind, it all starts with effort.