Washington Wizards: Game 5 loss should seal Scott Brooks’ fate

Washington Wizards Scott Brooks. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Washington Wizards Scott Brooks. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

A game four victory and Joel Embiid injury should have breathed new life into the Washington Wizards. Instead, the Wizards came out sloppy and less aggressive than the Philadelphia 76ers in a must-win game and couldn’t keep their season alive as they lost to the 76ers 129-112. The Wizards have officially been eliminated from the playoffs, and the offseason is now upon us.

The next time the Wizards take the court, they could have a new head coach. Scott Brooks has completed his five-year contract with the Wizards, and there’s been no word on his future with the team. But the game five loss should have sealed Scott Brooks’ fate.

Brooks failed to make adjustments throughout the series (and the season) as the 76ers exploited mismatches. See Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons abusing the Wizards’ smaller guards. Or when he made adjustments, he made them too late. See waiting until game four to add Daniel Gafford to the starting unit. Game five was no different.

Scott Brooks’ performance in game five should seal his fate. It is time for the Washington Wizards to find a new head coach.

Even though the Wizards were facing elimination, the 76ers looked like the team playing as though their season was on the line. The Wizards were careless and coughed it up 10 times in the first half, leading to 10 easy points for the 76ers.

Despite being the team missing their MVP candidate, Doc Rivers and the 76ers came out with a plan. They suffocated Bradley Beal with two, three, and four defenders on defense, stifling the Wizards’ offense. Unfortunately, Brooks didn’t design anything for the Wizards’ other weapons nor did he do anything to make Beal’s life easier.

On offense, the 76ers went small and carved the Wizards up. The Wizards made no adjustments when Tyrese Maxey started taking over…again. It was no surprise we saw an early dose of Maxey. He was one of the catalysts for the 76ers’ near comeback in game four. The Wizards, however, seemed surprised to see him. There were no adjustments from game four to five and nothing was done to slow down Maxey.

The 76ers seemed ready for a game without Embiid. But the Wizards didn’t seem ready to exploit a team missing its best player. The 76ers had a plan. The Wizards were just hoping their talent would carry them to game five. As a result, we saw a ton of hero ball featuring a heavy dose of the backcourt and not much else. It was predictable, too predictable for a top-tier defense like Philadelphia, and the Wizards kept coming up empty, Eventually, they started looking to Rui Hachimura for help, but it was too little too late.

The 76ers were a great team this season. But they weren’t great without Joel Embiid. This season, Philadelphia was 10-11 in 21 games without Embiid before game five. However, they kept humming along just fine in game five. The Wizards, however, were shut down.

With the season on the line, the Wizards came out flat in what looked like the most winnable game of the series. The 76ers, came in ready to swarm Bradley Beal and stop the Wizards. Brooks didn’t respond. The players have to execute, but when the opponent has figured out the predictable approach and no adjustments are made, that falls on the head coach.

There’s been no word from the Wizards on the state of the head coaching position. Scott Brooks’ five-year contract has been fulfilled, though, so they have the opportunity to make a clean break and start fresh. They should take it.

In five seasons with the Wizards, Brooks never matched the 49-win success he had in his first season as head coach of the Wizards. Despite all the talent that Brooks had to work with — John Wall, Bradley Beal, Russell Westbrook — he was never able to get this team to the 50-win plateau, and he was never able to get them past the second round of the playoffs.

That’s not to say that the Brooks tenure was a failure. This was Brooks’ third trip to the playoffs in five seasons. He has the second-highest winning percentage among the nine coaches that the Wizards have had since 2000. But with an overall record of 183-207, that winning percentage is on the wrong side of .500 (.469).

We’ve seen the best Brooks can do as the man in charge in Washington. It’s not good enough. If the Wizards want to avoid wasting another year of Beal’s prime, game five needs to be the final game of the Scott Brooks era.

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