Wizards will play up-tempo game with small and big lineups

TOWSON, Md. (AP) Washington Wizards coach Randy Wittman doesn’t like to use the term ”small ball” to define his team’s style of offense.

Just because the Wizards intend to use an up-tempo attack, that doesn’t mean he can’t go with a bigger lineup.

”You can play with bigs in the same manner and we’re going to do that,” Wittman said Thursday after a practice session at Towson University. ”We have the ability to play a lot of different ways. We are going to be able to utilize our strength and physicality, as well as being able to play the other way. It’s not necessarily small for us, small. It’s spread the floor, and get into your spots, penetrate and play off each other.”

Wittman saw promise in the up-tempo strategy during the postseason. Washington bounced the Toronto Raptors in a four-game sweep using a speedier offense. The Wizards fell to the Atlanta Hawks in the next round when point guard John Wall was hampered with a wrist injury.

Players like the new style of play.

”I think that’s what a lot of teams are going to anyway, moving their small forwards and going smaller and having a stretch four and spreading the court,” Wall said. ”It’s tougher to guard. That’s what helped us in the postseason and that’s what guys have been working on this summer to prepare for this season.”

To help implement the system during training camp, Wizards’ coaches taped four small boxes on each side of the three-point lines with two on each wing and two in each corner. Players sprinted to those boxes when their team got a turnover, helping them with their speed up the court and spreading out the offense.

”I feel pretty comfortable,” said Marcin Gortat, a 6-foot-11, 240 pound center who was traded to the Wizards in 2013 from the Suns. ”This is the way I’ve been playing in Phoenix. I am really familiar with everything we do.”

The Wizards averaged 16.8 three-point attempts per game, which ranked 27th in the league. When Paul Pierce decided to opt out of his contract in June to sign with the Clippers, the Wizards decided to improve their outside shooting with a trio of veteran signings.

Washington added Gary Neal and Alan Anderson through free agency and Jared Dudley via a trade with Milwaukee. Rookie Kelly Oubre Jr. was acquired on draft day from Atlanta and is also expected to get quality minutes. Wittman is now hoping everything comes together.

Said Wittman: ”We’re going to do some things different offensively with the personnel that we have.”