Scott Brooks to Return as Wizards HC for 2020-21 Season, Says GM Tommy Sheppard

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 20, 2020

Washington Wizards head coach Scott Brooks reacts to a referee's call in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
Brandon Dill/Associated Press

The Washington Wizards will bring head coach Scott Brooks back for the 2020-21 campaign, which will be the last season in his five-year contract.

"He's a decorated coach. He's been in the league a long time as a player and as a coach. Very accomplished guy," general manager Tommy Sheppard told reporters Wednesday. "And I think we're in great hands next season."

The decision comes after Brooks compiled a 25-47 record during the 2019-20 NBA campaign, which wasn't enough to qualify for the playoffs. The team was included in the Orlando, Florida, bubble but went 1-7 to miss the postseason.

Washington hired the former Oklahoma City Thunder head coach in April 2016.

Brooks guided the team to a 49-33 record during his first season in charge and a 43-39 mark in his second campaign, earning playoff appearances both years. The Wiz won just a single playoff series, however, and the Toronto Raptors eliminated them in the first round of the 2018 postseason.

The lack of playoff success combined with the Wizards' slow start to last season landed the 55-year-old California native on the hot seat, though.

"Coach is putting us in position to succeed," former Washington guard Austin Rivers told reporters about last year's struggles. "It's not on him. I'll tell you that right now. It's not on coach Brooks. ... Everybody's saying something about coach Brooks, but it's not on him."

The team's record hasn't been the only problem, however.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported star point guard John Wall was fined in November 2018 for a tense practice exchange with Brooks that included him yelling "f--k you" at his coach.

With Wall sidelined this season as he recovers from a torn Achilles and a heel injury, the team failed to keep pace in the Eastern Conference.

Brooks has a 149-169 record in the regular season and a 9-10 mark during the playoffs with the Wizards. He previously posted a 338-207 regular-season record during a seven-year stint with the Thunder, earning NBA Coach of the Year honors for the 2009-10 campaign.

He also led OKC to the 2012 NBA Finals before losing to the LeBron James-led Miami Heat in five games.