Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard put to rest any questions about head coach Scott Brooks' future on Wednesday, as Brooks gets set to enter the final year of his contract with the team.
"I think we’re in great hands next season," Sheppard said of Brooks.
Sheppard further explained how Brooks proved his value to the Wizards this season despite their 25-47 record. And he also described Brooks' job performance in the context of his entire tenure, since he took over the job in 2016. The Wizards won 49 games in his first season, but have since been trending in the wrong direction in the standings.
Each of the past three seasons, they have had a worse record than they did the year before. Sheppard, though, doesn't put all of that on Brooks.
He mentioned injuries to key players, like John Wall who has been recovering from a ruptured his Achillies. Sheppard also pointed out the unusual circumstances of this season with the coronavirus outbreak forcing the league to shut down for nearly four months.
"Scotty’s done a good job since he got here of adjusting," Sheppard said. "Throughout it all, he has always maintained a very professional atmosphere, he does a great job of developing players and he’s fantastic in the community. I think we really need to be blessed with a full season of full health."
Sheppard did add that next year the calculus will change as Wall and Bradley Beal return. The team will have higher expectations and Brooks will be judged by wins and losses more than player development.
But he has at least done enough to earn that opportunity.
"All these young players got better this year in their own way," Sheppard said. "I think next year we will see all the benefits from that."
These statements from Sheppard mesh with what NBC Sports Washington has reported on the subject. Earlier this season, a Wizards executive remarked that "Brooks has done everything we have asked him to do." Brooks' agent, Warren LeGarie, also explained how Brooks is "all in" on the team's future, despite how much the dynamic has changed since he arrived in town.
The Wizards and Brooks will now move forward together for at least one more year.