Nearly a week after he received considerable grief – most notably from former Wizards Coach Flip Saunders – for throwing the ball against the backboard to himself and dunking in the third quarter of a loss against the Houston Rockets, McGee is still around and Saunders is gone.
McGee deflected a question about whether he feels vindicated after Wizards General Manager Ernie Grunfeld’s decision to fire Saunders. “No, I feel like Ernie, whatever he explained was the reason he fired Flip was the reason that he fired Flip,” McGee said.
Grunfeld said the players had tuned out Saunders and he believed the team needed a new voice. But again, McGee wouldn’t weigh in. “That’s Ernie’s opinion and we’ll let it be Ernie’s opinion. I don’t have one.”
McGee did say that the team played with a different energy level in Wittman’s debut. “I felt like we all went out there and played extremely hard, like some of the guys had to get pulled out, because they was going so hard,” he said. “It was definitely a lot of fun. We was just playing. We was running up and down the court and playing as a team.”
McGee finished with six points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots, trying to swat nearly every shot attempted in his vicinity. New Coach Randy Wittman said he wanted McGee to focus on rebounding and blocking shots and the athletic, 7-foot-1 fourth-year center believes he fulfilled his responsibilities against Charlotte.
“Definitely,” he said. “I was out there denying, out there trying to play aggressive on defense. I felt like I did that.”