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The Washington Wizards have fired head coach Flip Saunders, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski. And that should come as no surprise to anyone.
Saunders was doomed from the start. He was given a talented cast of characters, but he was also handed a group of immature ballhogs with no idea what a team offense is and no desire to play defense. Granted, there are some coaches that have the ability to bring a team together even if the lockerroom chemistry is shotty, but there isn’t a single coach that could turn this cast of misfits into a contender.
You have to feel happy for Saunders for finally being set free from that lockerroom. Once a group of players without a veteran leader decide they aren’t going to listen to their coach because he yells at them when they take contested 20 footers, it’s over from there. There wasn’t anything Saunders could have done to get the players to listen to him again (assuming they once listened to him before), so he was just treading water every night.
After a 2-15 start, the Wizards finally let Saunders go.
Saunders will get another head coaching gig in the future. A team with a competent management group will realize that Flip wasn’t the reason why Washington has the worst offense in the league right now. That has more to do with JaVale McGee, Andray Blatche, Nick Young and Jordan Crawford being on his team. You can call out as many sets as you want, but when those guys are on the floor, you’re bound to end up with a mid-range jumper (Washington ranks fourth in the league in shots per game in the 16-23 foot range). That’s not to say that Saunders’ own offense is a thing of beauty – he’s no Rick Adelman – but perhaps if the Wizards would have worked in cohesion to execute it a few more times it would look a little bit better.
Saunders is just the first domino to fall in what should be a slight rebuilding process for the Wizards. It looks like the Wizards will be getting the number pick and at worst, a top three pick, so they’ll be able to get a second building block in the draft to go with Wall. I’m fine with John Wall as the building block of your franchise but everyone else should be made available in order to get a new culture in the lockerroom. Wall is more of an attacker at heart than a true point, so guys like Young, Blatche and Crawford aren’t great fits next to him. And does Washington really want to pay $10 million per year to JaVale McGee?
Washington isn’t done changing their franchise now that they’ve fired Saunders. This is just the beginning. And, luckily for Saunders, this is the end of his stint as the coach of the Washington Generals.
I mean Wizards.