Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld, Head Coach Randy Wittman Address Media

6:01 PM, Jan 24, 2012   |    comments
Ernie Grunfeld seemed to be making excuses once again for his mistakes as the GM. Credit: Rafael Suanes-US PRESSWIRE
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WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- Well, Wednesday's game against the Charlotte Bobcats just got a whole lot more interesting.

The Wizards new head coach Randy Wittman had some pleasant things to say but there's one note that has been troubling me all afternoon on John Wall:

"He is a talented player that I think I need to coach. He has to be willing to be coached."

To me, that is a direct inference to Wall and Saunders having a nonexistent relationship. Can Wall block out his teammates actions around him and become the teachers pet? Probably not, but he should. Andray Blatche and Nick Young are players who act like they're too cool for school in the locker room and it certainly rubbed off on Wall while Saunders was in charge.

And Grunfeld did his usual tip-toeing around the roster that he's assembled by pleading about how young the team is. Even if Wittman was able to turn around the Wizards -- yeah, right -- I think Grunfeld's fate is already sealed.

The following are quotes from general manager Ernie Grunfeld and new Wizards head coach Randy Wittman from Tuesday's press conference.

Ernie Grunfeld on the decision: "I felt like at our time that our players were not responding. I think they needed a different voice."

Randy Wittman on John Wall: "I spoke to John. John's a big part of this. John has the ability i think to be a very, very good player. John has to now take what he has and not just think it's given to him. He is a talented player that I think I need to coach. He has to be willing to be coached. If he does that, that's where good players become great players." 

Ernie Grunfeld on team direction: "This doesn't change our overall plan -- which always has been transparent to us -- to build through the draft, to get salary cap space going forward and develop our young players."

Randy Wittman on the situation: "Is this a happy day? No. A good man walked out the door. And that's always hard. I didn't come to Washington to be the head coach. I came here to help [Flip].

Randy Wittman on talking with players: "I met with a couple of players here today, I told them 'I would've walked with him if I didn't believe this team could be better than what we are'."

Randy Wittman on expectations: "I'm not the miracle maker here. We have to change our outlook on how we play."

Randy Wittman on the Wizards: "Sometimes when you have such a young team, players get confused when the word development is used [and think] they are going to be able to develop by just playing. Development happens on the practice floor. You have to earn what you get out on the game floor."

Randy Wittman on the Wizards: "We're young. Are we going to make mistakes? Yes. That's how you learn as a young player on becoming a veteran. We can't make mistakes halfheartedly. If you're going to make a mistake, make it going all out."

Randy Wittman on the firing of Flip: "This is a black mark on all of us."

Ernie Grunfeld on whether the front office is to blame: "Everybody is responsible. We had issues happen to us that were really out of anybody's hands in the last two-three years and we had to go in a different direction. And we are trying to rebuild. If you are trying to rebuild, you have to go through some tough times. We think our future looks really bright."

Ernie Grunfeld on how he put the team together: "We've said all along; this is not going to be about wins and losses for us."

Ernie Grunfeld on whether his players will develop: "I think we have some very talented players on the team. But they are young. Young players are going to have their mistakes...But moving forward if these players develop the way we think they can and they come together, I think in a few years we can have a very competitive team."

Randy Wittman on how the Wizards style will change: "Tempo is number one. I think if you look at our team -- last night in particular -- the stinkers that we've had is John Wall walking the ball up the floor, going head-to-head five-on-five on 85 percent on your possessions."

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