By Stephen D. Riley, Special to AFRO
It is common for teams to gel in time for the playoffs. It’s rare that teams fall apart a week before the postseason begins. But, what better place or team for it to happen to than the classically dysfunctional Washington Wizards? After another head-scratching, buffoonish loss — this time to the Atlanta Hawks at home — Wizards coach Scott Brooks took to the media to air out his team and even managed to criticize his two best players in the process.
“One-on-one players, there aren’t many in our league and we don’t have one on our team,” Brooks fumed after Washington’s 103-97 home defeat to Atlanta on April 6. “Our perimeter defense is porous. It’s embarrassing.”
He then capped it off with: “We’re a selfish basketball team right now.”
Yikes! With only two games left in the regular season, the Wizards are free-falling at the most important time of the season. They’ve lost four straight games and eight of their last 10. And here is Brooks telling the world know that despite the presence of John Wall and Bradley Beal, two of the highest paid and highest-profile guards in the league, the team still doesn’t have a significant one-on-one player. That had to sting. But, hearing your coach dissect issues on the team that probably could be solved with better coaching doesn’t really help. Unless Washington can crack this losing streak in the next five days, they’ll likely enter the playoffs as an eighth seed, which means they’ll likely lose, which then means that Brooks could likely get fired.
It hasn’t been picture-perfect since Brooks took the reins as head coach in 2016. Unfortunately, it’s been more of the same problems that have plagued Washington for seasons: immature players, passion-less play and a lack of accountability. It’s been confusing, it’s been silly and it’s been mediocre—all classic traits of a Washington-based ball club. Maybe it’s time to start searching for the next coach who can resurrect the Wizards because it looks likely that Brooks may not be in town next season.