The Washington Wizards have hired ex-Oklahoma City Thunder skipper Scott Brooks as their new head coach, replacing the recently-fired Randy Wittman, who served for almost five years.
The deal with Brooks is for five years and is worth $7 million a year, for a total of $35 million, according to Yahoo! News, which first reported the story.
Apparently, the Wizards believed the Houston Rockets were a real threat to hire Brooks as soon as they are eliminated from the playoffs [any moment now] and decided to strike before the Rockets could.
Brooks was mentioned as the front-runner for the Wizards job almost as soon as Wittman was fired following the end of Washington’s disappointing 41-41 season which saw the team miss the playoffs for the first time in three years.
Brooks was a winner in Oklahoma City, posting a record of 338-207, including a trip to the 2012 NBA Finals, one of five appearances the team made in the playoffs during Brooks’ tenure. Brook’s .620 winning percentage is the best mark in NBA history among coaches to have never won a championship [minimum 500 games coached]. Brooks’ record in the playoffs is 39-34 and his teams reached the Western Conference Finals three times.
The Wizards are known to be in hot pursuit of DC-area native Kevin Durant, who will be a free agent — the most coveted free agent — during the offseason. Durant is currently playing forward for the Thunder in the NBA playoffs.
Apart from any alleged ability to attract Durant to Washington, Brooks has talents the Wizards need. He has a proven ability to develop young players and install creative and successful defenses, two things the Wizards lacked in 2015-16.
The criticism of Brooks in OKC was that he ran simple, isolation-heavy offenses that were easily solved by opposing defenses. On the other hand, one could argue that those defenses played to the strengths of players like Durant and point guard Russell Westbrook.