SNYDER: Randy Wittman has earned right to see if he can take Wizards even higher

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The jump from mediocre to good isn’t as challenging as the leap from good to great. While fans are happy that Charles Barkley no longer likens their team to the Washington Generals, second-round exits won’t suffice by the time Wittman’s extension ends.

If this is as good as it can get with him, skeptics argue, a change should occur now. Before stagnation — or regression — takes place.

Wittman wouldn’t be the first coach invited to work elsewhere after a successful season. Golden State dumped Mark Jackson after a 51-win season this year and Memphis cut Lionel Hollins after a Western Conference finals appearance last year.

Those are two candidates, for starters, who could stir excitement and capitalize on momentum. Or maybe Leonsis could lure Jeff Van Gundy with a president/coach deal like Stan Van Gundy got from Detroit. Or maybe the Wizards could identify the hot, young assistant who’s destined for greatness as a head coach.

But Leonsis isn’t big on “bold” when it comes to his franchises. The Washington Capitals’ general manager of 17 years was just replaced by a 13-year Capitals employee. Leonsis inherited Ernie Grunfeld and has kept him gainfully employed as the Wizards’ head honcho despite a slew of fireable offenses in talent evaluation and roster management.

So Wittman gets to stay, a right he earned and deserves.

For the time being, his presence and the Wizards’ outlook are a lot more inspiring and promising than a year ago.

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About the Author

Deron Snyder

Deron Snyder is an award-winning journalist and Washington Times sports columnist with more than 25 years of experience. He has worked at USA Today and his column was syndicated in Gannett’s 80-plus newspapers from 2000-2009, appearing in The Arizona Republic, The Indianapolis Star, The Detroit News and many others. Follow Deron on Twitter @DeronSnyder or email him at deronwashtimes@gmail.com.

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