The Wizards may have suffered their saddest loss of the season at home against the Bulls on Friday. This one wasn’t the usual for this squad. It wasn’t a lack of effort that doomed them. It was a lack of skill.
They tried — they fought their hearts out. Particularly Bradley Beal, who finished with 34 points. It didn’t matter. They just weren’t good enough to beat maybe the worst team in the NBA.
They played solid defense on a struggling Bulls team. They held them to 40 points in the first half, but allowed them to score 34 in the fourth quarter behind bursts from Zach LaVine and Robin Lopez.
The Bulls never built a lead of more than 10 points, but once the lead got there you just knew the Wizards weren’t going to be able to pull themselves back into the thick of things. Their offense was nonexistent. They only scored 30 points in the third quarter. Outside of that? They didn’t score more than 22 in a period. They shot 40 percent from the field and 31 percent from deep.
This was an all-around poor outing from maybe the most disappointing team in the NBA to this point in the season. The worst part? If we’re being honest, it’s par for the course.
Tonight’s loss is on Scott Brooks
When there are key players out and bench guys have to step into major roles, coaches have to do everything in their power to make those players more comfortable and help them flourish. Scott Brooks did his guys no favors tonight.
Bradley Beal only played 38 minutes tonight, which isn’t a bad thing in itself. He’s been overworked this season and he always plays hard — Brooks has to buy him rest when he can. But when your offense is at a standstill like it was tonight, he has to play heavy minutes.
Things don’t stop there, though. Brooks didn’t get creative with his lineups at all. As the Wizards were falling behind and the offense was freezing, he played Tomas Satoransky, Sam Dekker, Chasson Randle, Ron Baker and Ian Mahinmi — not a credible shooter on the floor. There was no creation. There was no creativity. The players looked lost.
You’ve got to be able to coach those guys to a win with a talent like Bradley Beal at your disposal. The fact that he couldn’t says a ton.
Where’s Troy Brown Jr.?
Brooks has consistently said that he isn’t ready to play at this level just yet and that he has to continue to get better, but if he couldn’t play tonight when is he going to play? John Wall, Markieff Morris and Otto Porter Jr. were all out. The Wizards were functioning with just two players who would be able to create anything on their own offensively. Brown seriously couldn’t play?
Ernie Grunfeld and Brooks both touted Brown’s versatility after they drafted him. They had confidence in him and his ability to help this team win games right away. They felt he could play four positions in a pinch if they needed to and tonight we saw that pinch. What we didn’t see was Brown.
Either this is bad management wasting a draft pick or this is just a coach being stubborn with playing time. Neither of those things are good options. The worst part? Both things can be true.
What are we doing here?
More and more, as we jog down the treadmill of mediocrity, we’ve got to question what the hell this team is actually doing. The Wizards are ten games under .500. If there’s a comeback in the cards, I don’t see the vision at this point.
The Wizards have lost eight of their last ten. The team is either losing or tied in the season series with the three teams ahead of them in position for the 8th seed. The path to the playoffs is getting murkier and murkier.
If it wasn’t before, it’s time now to start thinking about moving the core three pieces in Wall, Beal and Porter and just moving forward in a single direction. There isn’t one at this point. The dearth of talent on the roster outside of those three is evident — tonight was just a case in point.
I don’t know what the path to a brighter future for the Wizards is. But it’s not this. The team needs to figure it out and they don’t have much time to do it. Everyone in the organization’s job security should be in question right now. This is straight up unacceptable.