Washington Wizards: Can Things Get Any Worse?

Washington Wizards Russell Westbrook. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Washington Wizards Russell Westbrook. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /
3 of 4
Washington Wizards Scott Brooks. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Washington Wizards Scott Brooks. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /


Scott Brooks has got to go. If you remember, Brooks was hired the same summer a certain DC native who previously played for Brooks in Oklahoma City became a free agent. You can put two and two together, but I digress. Brooks wasn’t enough to lure Kevin Durant back home, and his stint in the nation’s capital should have ended shortly after that.

Everything has been downhill since Brooks’ first season, in which the team won 49 games. Every year since, the win total has decreased. We are finally reaching the bottom of the barrel as we continue to watch Brooks get outcoached night in and night out.

He should have been fired two seasons ago, but Ted Leonsis doesn’t believe in paying people to go away, even if it is for the best. Brooks’ contract is up at the end of the season, so hopefully, these are his final games with the Wizards.

Player Development

The Wizards have a bevy of young players on their roster who should have serious roles on this team but don’t.

The mismanagement of both Deni Avdija and Troy Brown Jr., in particular, is abysmal.

Avdija was drafted as a versatile playmaking forward, and Brooks has turned him into a spot-up shooter or tried to. A guy who can do so many different things on the basketball court who flourishes in so many different areas has been reduced to a specialist. Rotations are meant to find ways to work to players’ strengths, and Brooks has done the opposite of that with Avdija. It makes no sense to turn Avdija, who has struggled from three and the free-throw line during his professional basketball career, into a sniper.

The Avdija situation is far too similar to what happened to Troy Brown Jr’s. Brooks has clearly never had any confidence in Brown, which shows in his minutes. He barely played as a rookie and has barely played this season, either. In the only season where he did see extended minutes (last season), Brown played fine and progressed with more opportunity. He showed he could be a secondary ball-handler, a quality slasher, and defend different positions.  He just never gets the consistent minutes he needs to take the next step.

It doesn’t end with these two either, Isaac Bonga gets thrust in and out of the rotation like no other, and it took three months for Garrison Mathews to even find the floor.

Sets and Defense

The offensive creativity is non-existent. The Washington Wizards play iso ball for Bradley Beal or Russell Westbrook and pray that they either score, find an open shooter (for which the Wizards have none), or a cutting big man (for which the Wizards also have none).

There is no ball movement, just a lot of standing and watching the two top dogs work. It’s predictable and uninspired. Plus, the Wizards don’t have the pieces around Beal or Westbrook to really make it work. But they stick with the iso ball. No ball movement. No creativity. Just Beal, the Westbrook…for 48 minutes.

As far as the defense goes, where do we start? The head coach doesn’t preach it, the star players don’t play it, so what does that lead to? Having one of the worst defenses of all time. This season, the Wizards rank 27th in defensive rating. Last season, they were 30th. The season before that, 28th.

No adjustments are made on either end, and once an opponent finds any hole in the Wizards on either side of the ball, that’s it. They attack, and they don’t stop attacking.

Between the lack of offensive sets and lack of emphasis on defense, the Wizards are basically just winging it, playing 5 vs. 5 at the local YMCA. Which leads me to the question: What does Scott Brooks really do?

Based on watching this team, the answer is not much besides stunting the growth of the few promising players he has on his roster.