When the Washington Wizards announced the hiring of Scott Brooks to be the new head coach, many thought this was simply to increase the chances of signing Kevin Durant in the offseason. While that is certainly something the Wizards will use in the pitch for Durant, it won’t land them the coveted 6’8” superstar, but that’s okay.
Washington has a very slim shot of signing Durant in the upcoming offseason. Every team will be thinking of different ways to structure their team and land Durant. Sure, KD would be great for the Wizards, but he would be great for any team. Scott Brooks was hired to coach basketball games, something he has had pretty good success in doing.
On Wednesday at the Verizon Center, the team introduced Brooks to the public with owner Ted Leonis and Ernie Grunfeld both in attendance. The deal is a five-years, $35 million making Scotts one of the top-six highest paid coaches in the NBA.
This was a perfect match as Brooks only wanted to coach the Wizards and Washington only had Brooks in mind. No other candidates were interviewed and a deal was done within 24-hours of the initial meeting.
Of course, he was asked whether or not he will bring Kevin Durant with him and as expected, he avoided that topic. Instead, he shifted the focus to the players who are currently on the roster, mainly John Wall. Brooks that Wall has the potential to reach “two or three” levels higher not only from a basketball standpoint, but from a leadership standpoint as well.
Brooks talked about the dynamic of Wall and Bradley Beal, who complete the Wizards backcourt. Brooks likes the fact that both players play hard on both ends of the floor. That is one of the big things he preached: playing hard on both ends of the floor.
Otto Porter Jr. and Kelly Oubre Jr. were also raved about by Brooks. The Wizards have some young guys that are still developing and that is something Brooks excels in. When he coached the Oklahoma City Thunder, he helped develop Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Durant. He knows he has an exciting roster if they are being used properly.
Along with having a young roster, the Wizards have money to spend this offseason. If Durant were to sign, he would require a max deal, which would be fine. However, since Durant isn’t likely going to follow Brooks to Washington, that allows the team to possibly acquire multiple pieces to fill the puzzle.
“We have a very talented group and obviously we have flexibility to improve our roster with our current free agents that we have now and maybe add a few pieces,” Brooks said of his current roster and the upcoming free agency.
It’s really a win-win situation for the Wizards. There is an outside chance Durant signs with them and if that doesn’t go as planned, there are other pieces they have the money to get.
Since the Wizards drafted John Wall with the first overall pick in 2010, they have made the playoffs just twice. In three of Wall’s six seasons, Washington has posted season with under 30 wins. Wall doesn’t want to waste any more seasons as he is starving for an NBA championship. Brooks is the right guy to assist Wall and the Wizards in just that.
In seven seasons with the Thunder, Brooks compiled a record of 338-207, with only one losing season. That season was Westbrook’s rookie season and after that the Thunder took off. Brooks led the Thunder to the Western Conference Finals three times, including a trip to the NBA Finals. He led Oklahoma City to a 60-win season and three 50-plus win seasons. That is something Wall and company would love to accomplish.
To the Wizards fans who are still holding on to the hope of Kevin Durant signing, don’t get your hopes up or be disappointed if/when he doesn’t sign. It is alright if your team misses out on Durant as Brooks will bring his winning ways to a roster that is young and hungry as well as cap space to add pieces.
Scott Brooks likely won’t bring Kevin Durant to Washington, but that’s OK.