We are still a couple days away from the second half of the Washington Wizards’ 2020-21 season. But in the meantime, we sat down last week to take a look at one of the major questions regarding this season: Will head coach Scott Brooks get an extension after this season?
On the surface, it looks unlikely. He is on the last year of a five-year contract, which all but means that the front office doesn’t have confidence in him being the right fit over the next several years. However, they still have kept him despite a poor 3-8 start before a two-week coronavirus outbreak.
After a four game losing streak (largely due to the team getting back in game shape), the Wizards are now 14-20, just 1.5 games out of 10th place where they will enter a play-in tournament to make the Round of 16 in the NBA Playoffs. If the Wizards make the playoffs, it would be considered a successful season, and it could be enough for Brooks to keep his job, though probably at a reduced salary from his current rate of $7 million per year.
I’ve all but lost confidence in Brooks, and posting early in the season about bench coaches who could be an interim head coach among the assistant coach pool shows my position that I do not want him back. That said, my opinion of Brooks isn’t the same as why I think he needs to do to stay on the job.
Our writers spoke on the topic. So here we go!
Albert: Let’s discuss Scott Brooks and his status regarding whether he gets an extension or not. Has he done enough? If not, what does he need to do?
Yanir Rubinstein: I think it would be valuable to quantify this since there have been many posts already about whether Brooks should be replaced or not. But as you say, he’s not being fired midseason.
John Heiser: The NBA has added a play-in round, meaning 10 teams will play in the postseason. The 7-8 game will determine the 7th seed. The teams with the 9th and 10th best record will play one game to determine who stays in. The loser of the 7-8 game will then play the winner of the 9-10 game to determine the 8th seed. Hurray for 4 additional post season NBA games!
These changes make it possible for the Scott Brooks led Wizards to “make the playoffs” by finishing in 10th place, TENTH PLACE! The team is currently in 12th place, 1.5 games behind 8th seed Miami. The coach wants to be able to say they made the playoffs. The GM, Tommy Sheppard wants to be able to show his boss something after the past two lottery-bound seasons too.
That’s not good enough, or at least it shouldn’t be good enough, to warrant an extension. As an organization the Wizards need to move beyond rewarding the bare minimum. My concern is that this is the bar the Organization is looking to clear.
Thing is, the Wizards are only four games out of the 4th seed. That should be the goal of this team. That would mean Coach Brooks got this team above .500 in the regular season. If they can do that, the extension door is ajar. To 100% solidify an extension, Scotty needs to get them into the second round of the playoffs.
Albert: The second round of the playoffs was my optimistic expectation in the preseason. And yes, I can see them get there with a favorable matchup.
Yanir: So here are my two cents. The franchise decided to stick with Brooks for five years and ride the highs and the lows. Fine. I assume that they believe Bradley Beal is happier with Brooks, and would like to stick with him (we definitely know Russell Westbrook feels that way) at least for this season. Fine.
But what would qualify Brooks for an extension? In my mind, of course, he should have already been fired. But given that he was resurrected, given that ninth life, that extra Mario, whatever you want to call it, I would say that the bare minimum for him to get an extension, would be to win a playoff series.
Whether it be through first going through the play-in tournament or not - that doesn’t matter. When you have two All-Stars on your team you are expected to win (umm, multiple) playoff series. So, my bar would be win a playoff series, get your one-year extension, win two playoff series, you get a two-year extension.
You get to the Eastern Conference Finals? Jackpot, you win yourself a three-year extension. Finals? Four-year extension. You get my idea :)
Ben Mehic: Making the playoffs with Westbrook and Beal in the worst conference in basketball (where a team can secure home-court advantage with a .500 record) isn’t an accomplishment.
Scott Brooks’ tenure in Washington should be judged in its entirety - not by a single, standalone playoff appearance that, again, isn’t all that impressive. How does Rui Hachimura look at the end of the season? Are the Wizards competitive - as in, pushing for the semi-finals or conference finals? Is Deni Avdija improving?
These are just a few factors to consider. Washington has to increase the standard. A mere playoff appearance shouldn’t be enough. Getting to the second round? Then, maybe they should entertain extensions for the coaches and front office executives.
Ron Oakes-Cunningham: Has he done enough at this point? No. He’s lost the crowd. Virtual crowd because of COVID-19 of course.
But can he do more to earn one? Absolutely. The Wizards will will need to make the playoffs and win a series. I’m uncertain if a second round or conference finals appearance is enough to get that extension but I think the former will get him over the fence. Just remember that the Toronto Raptors set the example for such a dismissal with Dwane Casey.
At any rate, I think we’re in common consent that he should be extended if the Wizards can win their second championship this year.
Marcus Atkinson: Depends on who you ask. If you are asking me, he should have never been allowed to get to a 5th year in his contract. He has coached long enough in the league to know what he is at this point, I don’t need another year to learn anything new about him.
If you ask the organization and how they actually run things, the Wizards seem to be content with making the playoffs. We have heard the front office repeatedly state that the playoffs are the goal. But like others said, its not really much of an accomplishment given how weak the Eastern Conference is overall.
If the Wizards don’t make the play-in game, he’s probably out. Sadly I don’t believe this organization is viewing things beyond short term success and that has been problematic for years.
Greydy Diaz: I don’t think Brooks has done enough to get an extension. But given how low the bar is for the Wizards I believe he will get one if the team makes the playoffs. It actually wouldn’t shock me if making a play-in game would be enough for the organization to reward Brooks at this point.
Tomorrow, we will continue the roundtable with Part 2. Do you agree that a Round of 16 playoff appearance is enough for Brooks to get an extension? Or a play-in appearance? Let us know in the comments below.