The Wizards have lost five of their first six games, are giving up a league-worst 125 points per game and stars John Wall and Bradley Beal are already blasting their own teammates through the press.
But hey besides that, everything’s fine.
It’s another year and the Wizards are already in midseason form when it comes to dysfunction.
After a loss Friday to the Sacramento Kings, Wall and Beal told reporters some players on the Wizards are playing with their own agendas. And the Wizards proceeded to follow those comments by allowing 136 points in a blowout loss to the Los Angeles Clippers
The season is not even a month old, but given the situation, people are starting to wonder: is Scott Brooks’ job in immediate danger?
It shouldn’t be, say the team’s players.
“Coach is putting us in position to succeed,” Wizards guard Austin Rivers told reporters after Sunday’s loss to the Clippers. “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.”
If the Wizards were to decide to fire Brooks, he won’t be the first coach let go this season. The Cleveland Cavaliers parted ways with Tyronn Lue on Sunday after the 2016 NBA champions started the year, 0-6.
Last season, three coaches were fired in-season — after no coaching changes were made following the 2016-17 season. The coaching carousel, however, spun even faster this past offseason — with nine teams making a change.
As Rivers referenced, the Wizards know if they keep performing like this, Brooks’ seat will become even hotter. An online sportsbook is listing 5-1 odds that Brooks will be the next coach fired — trailing only Oklahoma City’s Billy Donovan and Minnesota’s Tom Thibodeau.
This isn’t the first time, either, that the Wizards have gotten off to a slow start under Brooks, who is into his third year of a five-year, $35 million deal.
In 2016, Brooks’ first year with the team, Washington began the season just 2-8 before ultimately turning it around. The Wizards finished with a 49-33 record and were a game away from the Eastern Conference Finals, losing to the Boston Celtics in Game 7.
Still, there’s no guarantee the Wizards will be able to right the ship like before. This year’s start is especially problematic — given Washington declared that the time for talking was over.
“Coach is sick of hearing it,” Beal said earlier this month. “(Owner) Ted [Leonsis] is damn sure sick of hearing it. And you know, we’ve just got to go out and win games, man.”
They haven’t done that. Instead, Washington has been blown out twice (Los Angeles, Golden State) and also failed to beat games coming off a back-to-back (Miami, Toronto). On the court, the Wizards seem disorganized, which led to Wall and Beal’s critical comments.
Brooks, though, downplayed the idea of players having their own personal agendas.
“I’ve been on teams where that was the case,” Brooks told reporters. “I don’t see that here. We were frustrated because we lost. We talked about going into the season locking into every game we play. We were frustrated we lost. Sometimes when you get frustrated, you say things.”
Frustration has been a familiar theme for the Wizards during Brooks’ tenure — and the early days of the new season, so far, have been more of the same.