After getting blown out at home by Russell Westbrook and the OKC Thunder last week, Washington Wizards head coach Randy Wittman went on a tirade about his team, questioning their confidence and toughness.
Center Marcin Gortat, who has struggled and gone through some dark periods to start the season, felt targeted by Wittman’s pointed criticism.
The big fella had just a single rebound in 27 minutes against the Thunder, but says he doesn’t appreciate his coach going through the media to motivate the troops.
Per the WaPo:
On Tuesday night, an irked Randy Wittman vented his frustration after the Oklahoma City Thunder routed his Washington Wizards by 24 points. He questioned his team’s confidence. He called them soft. And then he narrowed his focus, guaranteeing that he could grab one defensive rebound in 27 minutes Saturday against the Orlando Magic as one of his players had done in the loss to the Thunder, though he didn’t refer to the player by name.
“I don’t think it was necessary to call me out in the media like that,” Gortat said Friday after pausing for nine seconds before answering a question on the subject. “But it happened. I heard a different story in training camp, that stuff like that won’t happen. But it happened. So I disagree with what he did.”
“I believe a lot of the reasons [why] I didn’t get rebounds was because if we’re giving up 100 points in three quarters then there’s not much to rebound. That’s the first thing,” said Gortat, who is averaging 7.3 rebounds per game. “The second thing is I’m challenging a lot of shots. … The statistics don’t lie. I’ve been challenging a lot of shots. I’ve been helping in a lot of different rotations and I’m pretty much out of position over half of the time. The other half, when I’m under the basket, the ball most of the time just goes into the basket. So it is what it is. […] Again, that’s not an excuse at all. I watched the game. I watched the statistics from the game. And, yeah, I agree, there were probably two or three situations where I should’ve had the rebound in my hands and I just didn’t secure the ball. But stuff like that will happen. It’s not like I’m going to come back to the weight room and do a bunch of different exercises or go to the practice court and start doing a lot of drills to catch the rebounds. Stuff like that happens. It’s a part of the game … I don’t think I was the biggest problem in that game.”