The Washington Wizards were expected to be a great team this season. They returned an exciting pair of guards in John Wall and Bradley Beal. And with those two as the focal point and the veteran pieces around them, many expected the Wizards to be the darkhorse in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. Well, things did not exactly work out the way they planned. The Wizards finished the season at 41-41, which landed them at 10th in the East. The disappointing finish along with the reported team discord and the bad plan of trying to be something they weren’t offensively led to the ousting of head coach Randy Wittman at the end of the season. The team underachieved and someone had to pay the price. Unfortunately for Wittman, it was him. Immediately there were names thrown around in regards to being the head coach. But in the end, the Wizards decided to hire someone that’s had success in the NBA before but was a head-scratcher for some. The Wizards agreed to a five-year, $35 million deal with former Oklahoma State head coach Scotty Brooks. And now he will assume the role of leading this team.
Obviously the first thing that many thought when Brooks was signed is Kevin Durant. The talented small forward is scheduled to be a free agent at the end of this season. With the hiring of Brooks, many see this as a tipping point to try and get Durant to come back to the area he grew up in. Adding Durant with John Wall and Bradley Beal has the potential to be something special. But unfortunately for those thinking he is coming home, it probably will not happen. Although Durant may be better suited to come to the East and make a run, all indications are that he does not want to come play for the Wizards. Durant definitely likes Brooks, but not enough to come back home. If hiring Brooks was part of the Durant plan for the Wizards, than they will be sadly mistaken. And when they don’t sign him, what are the thoughts going to be of the Brooks hire by the Wizards? Hopefully they weren’t putting all their Durant eggs in one basket here and hopefully Brooks did not stoke that fire either. If that is the case, then both will be wrong.
Swapping Wittman out for Brooks may look like a successful hire to some, but it isn’t as good of a hire as some may think. Brooks guided the Oklahoma City Thunder to the NBA Finals once and took them from being a lottery team to a consistent contender in the NBA’s Western Conference. The team played great defense and that was their staple. But offensively, they were not very creative. All many knew of the Thunder offense under Brooks was either Durant or Russell Westbrook were going one-on-one. Off of that, you could not really tell what they did. There was not a lot of movement in their offense and at times, they went through droughts. In DC, it will be interesting to see what Brooks learned from them to now. But for now, we can only go off what we know. If he brings that same style offense to DC, then they will not be very good. Wall and Beal going solo is something that will not help their team. And the lack of ball movement in his offense will also not give Wall openings to get it to his big man, Marcin Gortat. That alone is something that Wizards fans may need to worry about. Their defense will probably improve, but their offense is going to be something that depends on one-on-one play, which is not how the Wizards can be successful at all.
The Wizards seem to be happy with their hire of Brooks. And this could be a successful marriage. But there is also the chance that history repeats itself. Brooks will only take the Wizards but so far with what he has shown as an offensive head coach. Wall and Beal will be running and gunning but in the halfcourt, their offense will be stagnant. Their defense will improve, but they will not be the team they could be under Brooks. And as far as getting Durant there, that ship has definitely sailed.