On Thursday, Washington Wizards General Manager Tommy Sheppard and Head Coach Scott Brooks held a press conference with the media after the conclusion of the team’s 2020-21 NBA season campaign.
During the press availability, Sheppard remained non-committal toward whether the Wizards would offer an extension for Brooks, whose extension ended this season. However, he also praised Brooks for keeping the team together during the worst days of the coronavirus pandemic, which included when the team missed six games due to a team-wide COVID-19 outbreak in January. He said that the team will have a full review before making such decisions.
Tommy Sheppard was asked if Scott Brooks will be returning next season. Sheppard did not have a for sure answer to that question. He said that there will be a thorough evaluation of the organization, top to bottom. pic.twitter.com/WKOpVF1hqT— Becca Winkert (@BeccaMVP) June 3, 2021
While Sheppard seems to be staying the course on trying to keep the Wizards on track for his plan, it’s one thing to be saying this when Brooks has a year or two left on his contract. The thing is that contract is now off the books. If the Wizards were a perennial playoff team throughout his tenure, then we wouldn’t be wondering whether Brooks will get an extension or not. He would have received it a year or two ago.
Unlike the regular at-will workplace like most of us, as a manager from the outside, I can see that Scott Brooks clearly has done a poor job. The Wizards have lost more games than they won. They threw away 10 regular season games (five each to start the first and second halves of the season). He played a three-guard lineup in the playoffs against one of the best frontcourts in the NBA.
Before this season, he misutilized Tomas Satoransky who was a promising point guard for the Wizards. He couldn’t find an ideal role for Otto Porter to get regular touches who was a regular starter alongside Bradley Beal and then-point guard John Wall. I can go on and on, but the warning signs were out there on Brooks for quite some time now.
While it is commendable that Brooks didn’t lose the players last season during a pandemic-fueled season, I can only assume that the same issues that many of us were complaining about before COVID-19 will continue next year if he is brought back.
And for Sheppard, I don’t see the point of a protracted review to decide whether Brooks should stay or not. That review happened back in 2019 after Ernie Grunfeld was fired when principal owner Ted Leonsis sought the advice of tens of people, including a recent U.S. President. While I appreciate that Sheppard is one who likes a collaborative approach before making major decisions, I find it hard to believe that at least some of this hasn’t been done over the past several months, because Brooks was already on thin ice to start this season.
If I made the decision on whether to keep Brooks or not, I’d tell him he’s no longer needed so the Wizards can move on to a new head coach who could be a potentially better fit. Will it upset Westbrook? Yes. Will it upset Beal? Most likely. While they may not like it, I think a new coach can get more out of them and other key players than Brooks has. And if Westbrook and/or Beal don’t like it, the Wizards can trade them away to teams while their value is still high.
Do you think a decision regarding Brooks should have been made sooner? Or should Sheppard take his time considering that the Wizards defied expectations recently? Let us know in the comments below.