Wizards Lock Up Their Transitional Head Coach

Rob Mahoney@RobMahoneyNBA Lead WriterJune 4, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 22: Head coach Randy Wittman of the Washington Wizards yells from the bench during the first half against the Sacramento Kings at Verizon Center on February 22, 2012 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

Former interim head coach of the Washington Wizards Randy Wittman was officially given the keys to the kingdom on Monday, according to ESPN.

The head coaching slot in Washington may not be as deeply tragic as the corresponding gig in Charlotte or as troublesome as the job of attempting to appease Dwight Howard in Orlando, but there was a theoretical opening in the space that Wittman admirably filled for much of the 2011-2012 season, and the Wizards have found a good fit for that opening without fanfare, without trouble and without even the need for a fresh playbook.

There should be no misunderstanding Wittman's role in all this. Wittman may still be the head coach of this particular team when they finally break through to the postseason down the line, but it's fairly unlikely he'd last all that much longer than that.

Washington was badly in need of a transitional coach to teach the basics of NBA offense, to install the kind of regimen that lies at the foundation of every successful team and to create a structure that could one day be refined into a winning culture, functions in which Wittman was happy to oblige. There's nothing in his track record that would lead us to believe Wittman capable of eventually elevating this club to anything beyond the playoff fringes, but that doesn't mean Washington isn't in need of his short-term services to create something of value out of a group of somewhat fickle prospects.

Under Wittman's official tenure, the Wizards will continue to amass talented young pieces to position around John Wall and further swell in the legitimate gains the franchise has been able to make in the last half-year or so. It's not flashy, and it's hardly a revelation. But simply by making his players accountable to one another and doling out minutes in a more meritocratic fashion, Wittman has radically changed the operations of a struggling franchise and more than justified a post for a franchise due for a tremendous amount of change.