The Wittman Watch: Timberwolves at Wizards Preview

USA TODAY Sports

Every Wolves fan's favorite erstwhile head coach is on the hot seat in Washington.

Timberwolves at Wizards
6:00 pm Central
FS North

The Wizards are off to an abysmal 2-7 start in a season during which they expected to make a significant step forward. That optimism stemmed from their strong finish to last year, when they played .500 ball over most of the 2nd half of the season, once John Wall got healthy.

Unfortunately, in the frenzy over getting ready for this season, they forgot to replace their head coach, and thus are once again trolling the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

As discussed elsewhere, the Wolves are not in a position to hand Randy Wittman his 300th career loss, as he sits at 149-298 heading into tonight's tilt. More's the pity, as Wittman was the disastrous replacement in Minnesota for the unfairly blamed Dwayne Casey during the 2006-2007 season, which was the nail in the coffin of the Kevin Garnett era in Minnesota.

He was fired after going 36-105 over parts of three seasons in Minnesota. This is after losing 50 games in each of two seasons in Cleveland in his first coaching stint. And yet he still got hired to replace Flip Saunders in Washington, and has shown he's still got it by cobbling together a 49-91 record with the Wizards.

He is currently the front runner to be the first coach fired this season, and a fifth straight loss tonight wouldn't help him.

Enough about Wittman, for whom bitterness still, admittedly, lingers.

The Wizards are struggling offensively mostly because their two highest usage players, John Wall and Bradley Beal, are shooting under 40% combined, and Beal in particular does not get to the free throw line because he is too busy jacking up jump shots from everywhere on the court. Meanwhile, the Wizards traded for center Marcin Gortat from the Suns, and have paired him with Nene Hilario up front. This can be an effective duo offensively, and it would behoove the Wizards to try to get them the ball more often.

Old friend Martell Webster is off to a good start this season, making some threes, chipping in on the glass, and not turning the ball over.  Happy to see Martell find a home after his difficult year with the Wolves.

Defensively, they are allowing way too many easy baskets around the hoop, and hopefully Pekovic and Love will be able to take advantage of this, as the Wizards are dead last in the league in 2PFG% against, at 53%.

The Wizards will be without normal starting small forward Trevor Ariza tonight, who is out with a hamstring injury. Rookie Otto Porter and Chris Singleton remain out, and Al Harrington is unlikely to play.

The Wovles embark on another 5 games in 7 nights stretch tonight, and they need to get it off on the right foot against an eminently beatable Eastern Conference opponent.

Likely Lineups

Wizards

John Wall
Bradley Beal
Martell Webster
Nene Hilario
Marcin Gortat

Wolves

Ricky Rubio
Kevin Martin
Corey Brewer
Kevin Love
Nikola Pekovic

We'll be back with a game thread later.

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