The search for Scott Brook's top assistant may be over. The Wizards are finalizing a deal to bring on former head coach Tony Brown for the job, according to a report by The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski.
Tony Brown is finalizing a deal to become Scott Brooks' top assistant with the Wizards, league sources tell @TheVertical.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 11, 2016
Brown, 55, has been an assistant coach in the NBA since 1997. He worked for eight teams, including on Doc Rivers' staff in Boston and Rick Carlisle's staffs in Detroit and Dallas.
The Chicago native also played seven seasons in the NBA after playing his college ball at the University of Arkansas.
Brown's most recent coaching stint was in Brooklyn. The Nets hired him in 2014 to work under new head coach Lionel Collins, then named him interim head coach after firing Hollins halfway through the 2015-16 season.
Carlisle voiced his support for Brown soon after. "Tony’s a guy who is a very underrated basketball man in our league. He’ll do a great job with [the Nets]," Carlisle said in The Fort Worth Star Telegram. "He’s done a great job with the team so far. They’re moving the ball extremely well.”
In the same piece, Brown credited Carlisle for evolving his coaching style over the years. Brown said he learned from Carlisle's up-tempo system in Dallas and encorporated what he'd observed into his own playbook.
"That’s the way the game is now, position-less basketball, much more in places like Golden State,” he said. “But movement, pace, a lot of ball screens, pick-and-roll, that type of thing where people are rolling to the rim. You’ve got to respect that, and then off of that you get the ball inside-out to guys for 3-point shots or draw-and-kick situations. Yeah, I think we all try to piece some type of flow and pace in our offense, and he’s a good guy to get things from."
Ultimately Brown was unable to turn around a floundering Brooklyn team, which finished the season 11-34 under his leadership, and was not offered the permanent position.
But players appreciated the change of attitude their interim leader brought to the Nets. He emphasized playing with energy, moving on from mistakes and having fun, according to ESPN.
That description compliments Brooks' reputation as a players' coach. It also meshes nicely with the Wizards' desire to implement a pace-and-space offense, a project that began in 2015-16 under Randy Wittman, but yielded mixed results.