One of the most common complaints against Scott Brooks is his tendency to play his stars together, rather than stagger their minutes to ensure at least one star is on the floor at all times. It happened a lot in Oklahoma City with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, and it kept happening last season with John Wall and Bradley Beal.
Last summer, it looked like Scott Brooks was ready to make a change. On a podcast with Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports, he indicated he was going to try to stagger Wall and Beal more to take advantage of Beal’s improved playmaking abilities.
Going into next season, we can stagger some of his minutes so he doesn’t always have to play with John and vice-versa. They can both help each other and help our team score points with their ability to attract defensive schemes. They’re hard to guard, they both can score, but they both can help their teammates score.
Brooks succeeded in turning Beal into more of a playmaker. Beal averaged a career-high 4.5 assists per game and used a higher percentage of team possessions than ever before. Brooks also succeeded in staggering Wall and Beal’s minutes ... on a technicality.
They played a career-low minutes together this season, but only thanks to Wall missing half the season with various injuries. In the 41 games they played together, they actually shared the floor more than last season.
In the playoffs, Brooks broke that tendency, but only slightly. Last season, Wall played 84.0 percent of his playoff minutes with Beal. This season, that dipped to 81.2 percent, but keep in mind that’s on a smaller sample size which includes Beal’s foul-ridden Game 2 performance in which Wall and Beal only played 20 minutes together.
The Wizards fared better this season in the minutes without both players on the floor than before. Last season, they were outscored by 7.7 points per 100 possessions. This season, the Wizards were only outscored by 5.7 points per 100 possessions. It’s an improvement, but still a lineup configuration that should be avoided when a game is still in the balance.
To be fair to Brooks, we don’t know all the dynamics behind the scenes when it comes to figuring out rotations. Perhaps Wall and/or Beal stated they’d prefer to play more with each other. Plus, when Brooks talked about staggering last summer, he probably didn’t foresee Tim Frazier and Jodie Meeks struggling so much, Sheldon Mac tearing his Achilles, and Tomas Satoransky spending most of his time at point guard rather than on the wing like he planned.
There could be a lot of factors at play here, but the bottom-line is he didn’t deliver on his goal of staggering Wall and Beal. Fair or not, it’s just one of several examples this season which seem to reinforce that he hasn’t done much to change the parts of his tactical approach which have drawn the most criticism.