Why the Washington Wizards Must Fire Flip Saunders

Kelly ScalettaFeatured ColumnistJanuary 9, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 05:  Washington Wizards head coach Flip Saunders looks on from the sideline against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Verizon Center on March 5, 2011 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Washington Wizards are an awful team. That's not surprising. No one was really expecting them to contend for the postseason this year. That goes with the territory of being a young team.

What you do expect to see, though, is improvement. 

What you see with Washington is the opposite. Last year, over the second half of the season the Wizards were even worse, 11-30, than they were in the first half, 12-29. Now they've gotten even "more worse," starting off the season with a league-worst 0-8 record in spite of having the fifth-easiest schedule. 

They have easily the worst offense in the league, in spite of having a player in John Wall who is one of the most talented offensive players in the league. They score nearly five points less per 100 possessions (91.2) than any other team in the league. That's 11.3 points fewer than last year. 

Scoring league-wide is down by five points, but that's more than double the league average. 

Defensively, they've shown minimal improvement, jumping from 24th in the NBA all the way to 22nd. Their defensive rating has dropped by 4.8 points per 100 possessions, but again the league average is down by five. 

Their star player, the No. 1 overall pick from 2010, John Wall, at the ripe old age of 21, is down in scoring from 16.4 points to 14.4 points. His assists are down from 8.3 to 6.8. His field-goal percentage is down from .409 to .351. 

Other young players Nick Young and Andrey Blatch also have seen their scoring drop. JaVal McGee, one of the more athletic seven-footers in the NBA, has seen his scoring go up—all the way to 12 points, which is well below what his talent should dictate.

In college, I had a general rule. If a student failed, it was the student's fault. If the class failed, it was the professor's fault. I always avoided bad professors and the Wizards should be firing their bad coach. 

In fact, the two best performances by the Wizards this year came against the Boston Celtics in a game where they saw Flip ejected and the game against New York, which followed a players-only meeting called by John Wall. 

In other words, this team is better without a coach at all than they are with Flip Suanders as a coach. 

They have tremendous young talent that is under-performing because they are being poorly coached. It's time to fire him and get someone who is better able to nurture and motivate the young talent on the team.