On Tuesday, the NBA named Washington Wizards head coach Scott Brooks the Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for April 2021.
I know. A lot of you want Scott Brooks fired and you probably still want him out. And I’m with you. But regardless of what we all think about his poor rotation choices, especially earlier this season, we can’t deny that things have changed for the better.
The Wizards were 12-5 last month. This included an eight-game winning streak which catapulted Washington from the lottery pack to the play-in pack.
Why did Washington make this big jump? It’s because of a much improved defense. The Wizards’ defensive rating was 108.0 in April 2021, third overall in the NBA. Washington was also among the top ten in rebounding percentage and defensive turnover percentage (or they forced other teams to committing turnovers). Before April, Washington was 25th in overall defensive rating, 25th in rebounding percentage and 15th in defensive turnover percentage.
There’s a side of many fans, myself included, who want to simply believe that Washington was able to make this turnaround despite Brooks being behind the bench. After all, Russell Westbrook got healthy and began playing like his 2016-17 NBA MVP self. And Daniel Gafford (10.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.0 blocks per game) has been anything but a gaffe for Washington when Brooks got him some run. They deserve a lot of the credit. But it’s also unfair to say that Brooks deserves nothing.
Washington was able to accomplish a very successful April despite being left for dead after a poor post-All-Star Break stretch in March. And Brooks, who is on the last year of his current contract isn’t acting like a coach who is checked out and waiting for the inevitable pink slip. In short, he deserves credit for the Wizards’ improvement last month as well.
Congratulations Coach Brooks for a successful April. Let’s see how things go for the rest of this regular season.