Key Legislature: Wizards 104 at Bulls 109 — Where the Hell is the Sense of Urgency? | Wizards Blog Truth About

Key Legislature: Wizards 104 at Bulls 109 — Where the Hell is the Sense of Urgency?

Updated: February 25, 2016

“Without a sense of urgency, desire loses it’s value.” This very poignant quote from Jim Rohn, a.k.a. the godfather of the personal development industry and mentor to motivational speaker tycoon Tony Robbins, has left this Wizards blogger completely vexed.

Now matter how much desire Ted Leonsis has to make the Wizards a marquee pillar of the D.C. community by investing in a state-of-the-art practice facility that will (maaaaybe) entice future free agents and enhance one of the city’s most impoverished communities…

No matter how much desire Ernie Grunfeld has to save his job, evidenced by routinely giving up future assets for a quick fix at the trade deadline…

No matter how much desire coach Randy Wittman has in in his countless #EffortTalk speeches…

None of this means a damn thing when the players have no sense of urgency against a team that looked nothing like “Da Bulls,” no matter how hard you squint.

It starts with All-Star John Wall, who was played to a damn near draw by E’Twaun Moore, a match-up that should be dominated by Wall on a 9.9 out of 10 of NBA nights. Wall failed to find a rhythm with his jump shot and seemed almost reluctant to use his athleticism against a thin Bulls roster. Fatigue seemed to be a factor for Wall, who only logged 32 minutes in what can only be described as a pivotal game for the Wizards playoff chances. And sure, the Wiz played their fifth game in seven nights, but they were coming off a long All-Star Break, one they entered with the LEAST GAMES PLAYED in 2015-16.

Wittman tried to sneak in a few extra minutes of rest for Wall, something he didn’t do the previous night, and the last attempt proved to be a sucker’s bet. At the 8:37 mark of the fourth quarter, Alan Anderson hit a clutch 3-pointer that brought the Wizards within three points, after they trailed by as many as 14 in the second half. Instead of the Wizards inserting their floor general, coach Randy Wittman decided to let the Wizards’ offensive actions remain non-existent by allowing Sessions to continue attacking the rim like a headless horseman blood-thirsty for free throws.

Sessions’ contributions on the night were noticeable (points are good), so his presence is not a complete blame, but after gaining momentum in a critical game, a smart coach would have used the next few possessions to run their best offensive sets in an attempt to throw a haymaker at a reeling opponent. Wittman sat on his hands, failed to display any sort of offensive creativity, and, as it has all year, it ultimately buried the Wizards.

The Wizards’ stagnant defense has been almost as alarming. The rotations were late pretty much all night and that allowed shooters Doug McDermott, Tony Snell and Mike Dunleavy to not only knock down open shots, but also to use late closeouts to their advantage—utilizing pump-fakes and attacking the basket, as witnessed by the McBuckets dunk that sent the United Center into a frenzy.


The fourth-quarter comeback was a valiant effort, but this game was lost when the Bulls went on a 13-0 run before the six-minute mark of third quarter. One of the Wizards’ biggest warts showed itself in the most inopportune time—and that is the defense of the 3-point line. The Wizards rank 29th in the NBA in opponent 3P%, and while they held the Bulls in check for the majority of the game (8-23 behind the arc overall), they seemed helpless during that run as the Bulls whipped the ball around the perimeter. The Bulls actually had better ball movement than the Wizards, out assisting them 26-19.

Maybe it was a lack of defensive communication, or maybe it was a lack of effort … either way the Wizards had a brain freeze to start the second half, one that turned a competitive game into a laugher.

Coming into the Bulls game, the Wizards had a 22.8 percent chance of making the playoffs according to, but now that has dropped to 15.9% after one of the most disappointing losses of the season. The already-tough odds, plus the significant drop in their chances, makes the Wizards’ lack of urgency even more unintelligible. How can this team take for granted an opportunity to beat up on a Bulls team not only ahead of them in the standings, but also missing All-Star Jimmy Butler and former MVP Derrick Rose? That general aloofness has sucked all of the passion out of a postseason. No matter how much desire this team has, it won’t make a difference without a sense of urgency. There is none; from players, coaches, management, or ownership. Three Things We Saw

  1. Alan Anderson finally made his Wizards debut. In very limited action he was able to show what this team has been missing on the wing. Garrett Temple is a fine defender, sometimes, and an almost-capable scorer given the right conditions, while Gary Neal is a more than capable offensive player and complete basura on defense. Anderson is probably the best combination of those two players. I wrote about some of the things that Anderson would potentially contribute to this team when the signing first happened last summer, the thing that stood out the most about Anderson’s game was his ability to play tough on-ball defense. His willingness to take and make clutch shots despite not being the most efficient offensive player is nice, too. Anderson brought that same communication skills that he has offered from the bench all season into the game and used that to finish with a Wizards game-high plus/minus of plus-11.
  2. Markieff Morris has yet to find his footing with his new team. One positive: Taj Gibson gave Jared Dudley fits in the first half, scoring a 17 points and using his size to his advantage to keep the Bulls in the game when it appeared the Wizards were poised to pounce. Taj didn’t score in the second half and Morris did a more than decent job of making Gibson work a little bit harder.
  3. Bradley Beal picked a bad time to go 0-for-6 from behind the arc. Even more descriptive than that, Beal’s inability to take over games when his team desperately needs him is a cause for concern for a player who expects to receive a max-level contract this offseason. John Wall was clearly tired, but he’s gone above and beyond the call of duty in terms of putting this team in positions to win. Beal has not figured out how to assert himself in a way that can meaningfully impact the outcome of games. Beal is this team’s second-best playmaker and while he looked great in stretches, he failed to get his teammates involved last night.
Troy Haliburton on Twitter
Troy Haliburton
Troy Haliburton is a native Washingtonian, and graduate of Gonzaga College High School and Morehouse College. Bylines on bylines on bylines.

Will write for food.