One’s Trash, Another’s Treasure: Washington Wizards Should Pursue Former Los Angeles Clippers Head Coach Vinny Del Negro
With the 2012-13 NBA season behind them, the Washington Wizards enter the offseason with a multitude of questions facing them. Is John Wall worth a max contract extension? Should they continue their playoff push and trade this year’s first-round pick in favor of a veteran player with playoff experience?
One question that appears to be receiving little buzz is if head coach Randy Wittman is the right man to lead Washington back into the playoffs. His track record with the Wizards, Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves suggests he isn’t. Wittman has a career record of 147-291 in seven seasons as a head coach, which includes zero postseason appearances.
With Washington increasing its payroll and moving away from its youth movement, one has to wonder if it’s time to move on from Wittman as well. With such a poor track record and only one year remaining on Wittman’s contract, there shouldn’t be anything that keeps Washington from ousting him in favor of a proven coach—a coach like Vinny Del Negro.
Del Negro has a career record of 210-184 with the Clippers and Chicago Bulls, and he has made the postseason in four of his five seasons at the helm. Aside from his playoff experience, Del Negro’s experience coaching elite point guards (Derrick Rose and Chris Paul) may further intrigue the Wizards, as point guard John Wall is the centerpiece in Washington.
On the surface, a marriage between the Wizards and Del Negro is a match EHarmony would make, as the Wizards are a playoff-starved organization and Del Negro is a playoff coach seeking recognition for his coaching feats.
In his two previous stops, Del Negro was a victim of his own success. Taking two teams – that recently had picked first in the NBA Draft – to the playoffs wasn’t enough for the organizations and their fan bases.
Washington doesn’t have the roster or the basketball tradition that would invoke such expectations on Del Negro. The Wizards and their fans simply seek what Del Negro has consistently delivered, the playoffs.