There are plenty of reasons why the Washington Wizards should part ways with Scott Brooks. His contract is up after five seasons, and the Wizards have an opportunity to move on from a coach that was at times good, but mostly mediocre, throughout his five seasons. They should take it. Yet, although we are more than a week removed from the end of the Wizards’ season, and while other NBA teams are making major head coaching decisions, there has been no word on Brooks’ future.
Scott Brooks hasn’t been terrible while with the Wizards. Three playoff appearances in five seasons isn’t bad. Not at all. That is as many or more playoff appearances than 19 other NBA franchises over the past five seasons. But with the organizational goals getting loftier, the Wizards will need more out of their head coach if they are to reach new heights.
The success of other playoff teams proves the Washington Wizards need someone besides Scott Brooks to take over.
Just look at some of this season’s playoff teams, and you’ll see how critical a head coaching change can be. The Philadelphia 76ers and New York Knicks replaced their head coaches before the season began; Doc Rivers took over in Philadelphia, and Tom Thibodeau was given the keys in New York. Each team saw immediate improvement thanks to their new head coach.
Here’s how each team finished last season:
- New York Knicks: 21-45 (0.318; 12th in East)
- Philadelphia 76ers: 43-30 (0.589; 6th in East)
And here’s how they did this season:
- New York Knicks: 41-31 (0.569; 4th in East)
- Philadelphia 76ers: 49-23 (0.681; 1st in East)
Although in his second season with the Suns, Monty Williams has had a similar effect in Phoenix. Here’s what their regular-season record looked like for each of the last three seasons. Williams was at the helm for each of the last two.
- 2018-19: 19-63 (0.232; 15th in West)
- 2019-20: 34-39 (0.466; 10th in West)
- 2020-21: 51-21 (0.708; 2nd in West)
Even the Atlanta Hawks, who changed coaches midseason, are evidence of the positive impact a change at the helm can make. Sometimes, it doesn’t take long for things to turn around.
The Hawks were 14-20 on March 1 when they fired Lloyd Pierce. Then, Nate McMillan took over, and everything changed. The Hawks closed the season 28-11 and finished as the fifth seed in the East. After missing the playoffs entirely last season (14th in East), the Hawks are currently battling the 76ers in the conference semifinals.
It’s worth noting that there were more changes than just the head coaching ones for each team. The Hawks added Danilo Gallinari and Bogdan Bogdanovic in the offseason and then Lou Williams at the trade deadline. The 76ers acquired Danny Green and Seth Curry. The Suns added an all-time legend in Chris Paul, and Julius Randle‘s breakout season helped elevate the Knicks and earn him the Most Improved Player Award.
However, there’s no denying the impact that a new head coach has had in each of these situations. Good teams are now great. Teams on the edge took the next step. And teams in the doldrums have been revived.
The Wizards could use a similar shift, and the only thing that will get them there is a reset at head coach. With a playoff birth this season, the Wizards proved they have the talent to compete. They just need someone to help put it all together.