Washington Wizards: Will Scott Brooks receive a contract extension for making the play-in tournament?

Head coach Scott Brooks of the Washington Wizards (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Head coach Scott Brooks of the Washington Wizards (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

What a roller coaster ride of a season! The year has been full of so many ups and downs, but the Washington Wizards are finally starting to ascend at the right time. After defeating the Pacers 154-141 this past Monday, the Wizards are now 30-35 and only 0.5 games behind Indiana for ninth place in the Eastern Conference. Washington ended April with a 12-5 record, and they’ve now won 13 out of their last 16 games.

The Wizards are hitting their stride right when they need to. The play-in tournament is only two weeks away! Dealing with some injuries and a COVID outbreak earlier in the year, Washington was able to stay the course and push through a horrific 17-32 start. Their stellar play as of late has helped earn head coach Scott Brooks the Eastern Conference Coach of the Month award in April. Last month, the Wizards were second in the East in both win percentage (70.6 percent) and defensive rating (108.0).

The Wizards have been on an absolute tear, and everyone within the Wizards franchise deserves some credit for the incredible turnaround. GM Tommy Sheppard made the key acquisition at the trade deadline to bring in center Daniel Gafford and forward Chandler Hutchison, and they’ve both been tremendous! The Wizards’ two superstars — Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook — are both healthy and playing their best basketball of the year, and all the role players are chipping in too and playing their parts perfectly.

Head Coach Scott Brooks’ deal is up at the end of the year. Can he earn himself an extension if the Washington Wizards make the play-in tournament?

Even though a shot at the play-in tournament would be quite the accomplishment after such a rough start, it’s definitely not what the Washington Wizards hoped for this year. Head coach Scott Brooks is in the final year of his five-year deal and so far, there’s been no public talk of an extension. A play-in berth would certainly help his case, but he may need much more than that to stick around.

A Look Back on Scott Brooks’ Coaching Career

In five seasons in D.C., Scott Brooks currently has a 177-203 record. The most games he’s ever won with the franchise was in his first season (2016-2017) when the Wizards finished fourth in the Eastern Conference with a 49-33 record.

Washington has only made the playoffs twice during Brooks’ tenure, and they’ve never been further than the Eastern Conference Semifinals after losing in game seven to the Celtics in 2017. Under Brooks, the Wizards have a 9-10 postseason record.

Overall, in 12 seasons as an NBA head coach, Scott Brooks holds a record of 515-410. He spent seven seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder prior to coming to D.C. and accumulated a regular-season record of 338-207 while there. No disrespect, but a lot of those wins were due to the fact he coached a team with three future Hall of Famers: Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden. In OKC, Brooks had a 39-34 record in the playoffs with only one Finals appearance, which is a little surprising due to the abundance of talent on the roster. Given what he had to work with, you’d expect him to have more success. The same can be said of his time in Washington, where he’s failed to hit 50 wins in a single season despite having guys like John Wall, Bradley Beal, and now Russell Westbrook.

Brooks has had the luxury of coaching multiple All-Stars throughout his entire career, but he’s never reached the pinnacle and won a championship. Brooks hasn’t even gotten close during his time in Washington. The Wizards are on track to finish below .500 for the third year in a row unless they stay hot and win six out of their remaining seven games. If they do, they’ll finish the season with a 36-36 record. How long will the mediocrity last?

The Final Verdict on Scott Brooks

Unless the Wizards go far in the playoffs, I just don’t see why Scott Brooks should return as the head coach next season. If Washington somehow makes it to the second or even third round of the playoffs, then maybe the front office should consider signing Brooks to a short-term extension in the offseason. Brooks reportedly has a strong relationship with Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook, which certainly plays in his favor, but that may not save him if the Wizards fail to make a deep postseason run.

Just a few short months ago, it looked like the Wizards season was all but over, and many people were calling for Scott Brooks to be fired. The Wizards’ recent success may have silenced those talks for now, but the season is still far from over. For an extension to even be considered, Brooks would need a miraculous ending to the year. Of course, anything can happen, but I hope I speak for most Wizards fans when I say it’s time for a change regardless of what we see during these final games!