Of all NBA teams that have a head coaching vacancy this offseason, the Wizards were the first NBA team to finish their search when they hired former Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Scott Brooks to replace Randy Wittman in late April. Brooks has a strong resume since the Thunder have been one of the Western Conference's perennial powers this decade. Brooks is also known for player development, and by all accounts, he's an upgrade over Wittman.
However, other high caliber NBA teams in recent days have fired or otherwise moved on from their head coaches. The Indiana Pacers decided to part ways with Frank Vogel last Thursday and the Memphis Grizzlies did the same with Dave Joerger on Saturday. Both the Pacers and Grizzlies have enjoyed playoff success and both coaches are also considered to be among the best in the NBA ranks.
Because two very good head coaches became available, some Wizards fans are now wondering why the team did not wait longer before making a decision.
There certainly are reasons to support why the Wizards should have waited longer before hiring their head coach. First, there is a wider pool of experienced candidates available since it was clear from the start that Team President Ernie Grunfeld was not going to hire an "outside the box" candidate. Second, expanding the pool may give the front office a bit less groupthink. If the Wizards didn't hire Brooks yet and were still holding out on other coaches becoming available, they may bring an "a-ha" moment that Washington didn't previously consider. Third, both Vogel and Joerger were actively coaching last season. Brooks was not.
I don't agree with this "grass is greener" mentality, however. Consider this.
The Wizards were coveting Brooks for this job because of his player development track record over the years with the SuperSonics/Thunder franchise. Equally important, Brooks stated in his introductory press conference that he really wanted to coach the Wizards and work with the current roster. I'm not exactly sure if I'm going to see the same amount of enthusiasm from Vogel or Joerger if they were hired here.
Another thing with the coaching carousel is that front offices and coaches have to go with their guts. Fans who believe the Wizards acted too early are also making the assumption that Vogel, Joerger, or now-Timberwolves President/Head Coach Tom Thibodeau would be equally enthusiastic about coming to Washington while Brooks' enthusiasm would not wane.
The thing is that NBA head coach searches -- like any other job search -- involve mutual respect and enthusiasm between the employer and the candidate. If the Wizards interviewed Brooks and waited several weeks for other candidates to become available, there's a chance that they may lose Brooks to another team and others would not want the job. If that happened, the Wizards would be in poor position heading toward the Draft Lottery (where the Wizards mathematically could still have their 2016 first round pick) and Free Agency.
The Wizards knew from the beginning that they wanted a head coach with proven experience winning in the NBA Playoffs and developing a large number of players. Scott Brooks fit that description and wanted to be here if this position became available. It's early to say that the Wizards and Brooks are a match made in heaven. But given the criteria set forth in the beginning, Brooks is the right fit, and the Wizards made the right decision to hire him.