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Opinion: Why the Washington Wizards must fire head coach Scott Brooks

Bradley Beal and Scott Brooks
Bradley Beal and Scott Brooks
Suryaraj Jain
ANALYST
Modified 01 Apr 2020
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The Washington Wizards lost have now lost back-to-back games that could have been easily won by the team. Considering the fight they put up against the 1st seed Milwaukee Bucks, the Wizards are certainly a dark horse in the Eastern Conference this season.

While making the playoffs is unlikely due to a tough schedule, the Wizards lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Chicago Bulls since their return from the All-Star break. Both games were winnable for the team, but due to some questionable coaching by Scott Brooks, those games were thrown away.

Brooks was hired by team owner Ted Leonsis in 2016. He was previously the head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder but took a year off from coaching in order to be with his family. As the head coach, he has taken the team to the playoffs twice.

In his first year with the team, he took the team to the Conference Semifinals, only to lose against the Boston Celtics. In the 2017 season, he managed to take the team to the first round of the playoffs, where they lost to the Toronto Raptors. That was the last time the Wizards have gone past the regular season and are likely not to move forward to the playoffs this season.

Not being able to take the team to the playoffs is NOT the main issue here, but the issues lie in the lack of drawing plays in terms of defense and the irregular rotations Brooks has been using. Just yesterday, Brooks said that the team is playing "soft" in terms of defense, and it certainly has been an issue.

Currently, the Wizards rank 6th in points per game, 13th in offensive rating, but are dead last in defensive rating. At one point earlier in the season, the Wizards ranked second in offense but last in defense. There have been no instances of Brooks drawing up plays for defensive purposes, especially in tight situations such as against the Bucks. However, it is important to note that the second unit for the Wizards produces more both offensively and defensively than the starting unit, which says a lot. This is where the discussion about rotations comes in.

Since the beginning of the season, the rotation has been irregular and inconsistent. If fantasy owners hoped that they could get some points off anyone that is not Bradley Beal, they were wrong. We will use the Bucks game as an example in this case. Isaac Bonga, who continues to be a starter at forward, scored zero points in the game.

Brooks decided to put him into the game with a minute and a half left. Bonga is the same player who was responsible for the loss against the Chicago Bulls at home earlier this season and was also involved in the incident that resulted in Rui Hachimura's injury (yes, accidents happen). But he lacks the ability to block or produce points consistently. Replacing Troy Brown Jr. with Bonga was a costly mistake, as Brown is known to be a master at enforcing steals for the team. Bonga, who played 24 minutes, played more minutes than Brown who actually scored points and played defense.

Another example is how he decided to insert Moritz Wagner late in the game, especially when the Bucks were running their big men besides the Greek Freak. Wagner drew several offensive fouls against the Bucks, which tremendously helped the Wizards in the 4th quarter of the game. It wasn't until the 3rd quarter did Brooks realized that they needed to put Wagner on the court.

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I could go on to use several games as examples of how irregular the rotations are, but that would take days to do so. The point here is that Brooks is not the right coach for the Wizards. If the Wizards want to improve their chances of winning, especially with the team coming back completely healthy next season, Brooks must be replaced for the team to be successful.

The underlying problem is, who would be the next head coach? The options are limited and one can only imagine an internal hire at this point.

Published 26 Feb 2020, 23:06 IST
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