Despite tirade, Scott Brooks still believes Wizards can make a run

Chris Lingebach
April 10, 2018 - 9:34 pm

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Disappointment drove Wizards coach Scott Brooks to unload on his players after another loss to a sub-.500 opponent.

"I was disappointed," said Wizards head coach Scott Brooks, who is presented by Greenberg and Bederman.

"Selfish, it means a lot of things to me," he told The Sports Junkies. "It means you're not giving everything you have for the team, you're not taking good shots, you're not defending. It's not just shooting. Most people think of selfish as guys taking all the shots. But, you know, we do it in streaks."

"I still believe in our guys," he said. "We've got John coming back, so we'll see. We've got two games left. We want to start playing well. We don't care who we play. I know everybody thinks we should play this team, this team. No. We've got to play better ourselves before we worry about who we play, and hopefully (Tuesday) we can start that."

Brooks lowered the boom on his players in the press following Friday's 103-97 loss to the then-22-win Atlanta Hawks.

A few of the body blows administered by Brooks:

  • Nobody wanted to share the basketball tonight. And when you do that, you end up taking bad shots, and when you take bad shots, you end up missing. Simple game. You pass it to your teammate, because the game tells you to. 
  • If you don't pass to your teammates, you're not gonna end up getting good shots. One-on-one players, there's not many in this league and we don't have one on our team.
  • If we're gonna talk about doing things, we've got to do it with our action. We've got to guard somebody. Our perimeter defense is porous. It's embarrassing when you get beat by back-doors after back-doors.
  • It's not an embarrassing loss to losing to Atlanta with their guys out, it's embarrassing that we don't play with the passion that we need to play at. It's time. We've been saying that for a while.
  • Selfish basketball is no fun to coach, it's no fun to play with and it's no fun to watch, and we're a selfish basketball team right now. If we're not going to share the basketball, you can't just say 'John's not here' and, you know, all of a sudden we're gonna be one-on-one players. If John's not here, John's here, it doesn't matter. We've still go to play the right way. The game tells you to pass it to your open teammate. The game tells you to guard the ball. The game tells you to help your team. And we're not doing that right now and it's embarrassing.

That was the public version of a scolding Brooks had given to his players in private after the game. How did they receive the tongue-lashing?

"They're disappointed. They're frustrated," Brooks explained. "And we've had guys speak up. John has spoke during the year, Brad has spoke during the year, but we haven't been able to figure out how do we play against teams that are below .500."

"The good thing about it, like I told guys the other day," he said, "I'm almost positive that we're not gonna play a team below .500 in the playoffs. We're gonna be in good shape there. We're gonna be able to play, hopefully, better. There's no excuse. There's no excuse. We should be winning some of these games. But we have to put that behind us. We've got to look forward and, going into these last couple of games, getting our mojo back, getting our rhythm back, getting John's conditioning to where it needs to be in the playoffs. So hopefully we can do that and then have a couple of good practices and go on the road and win a playoff game."

"To be 80 games in, and to still be sort of at this point," Eric Bickel said, "I can't imagine how frustrated deep down you must be."

"As a coach, you've got a lot of time to think and I get a lot of time to walk in this incredible city," Brooks said. "So the last couple of days, I've done a lot of thinking on how I could do things differently and how we could have done things differently. We've still got some time left. We still can make a run.

"But I came up with this. I said, you know, the last 10 games, for some reason, we let go of the rope. Before that, John's gonna miss probably half the season. He's gonna miss roughly 40 games of the season. Tomas (Satoransky) came out of nowhere and really did a great job of keeping us into this playoff race. So if you take away those last 10 games, it was a great story. John's missing half the season. Tomas comes in. Guys stepped up. We're in a playoff race."

"But for some reason, we haven't played well the last 10 games and I, really, if I have to pinpoint it to one area, it's the defense," he said. "We are giving up so many drives to the basket. We're giving up offensive rebounds, we're not contesting shots the way we need to do that, and if that doesn't change, we're not going to have a successful playoffs."

"We've got to lock in defensively and it has to start with the point guards," he said. "And it has to keep going down to everybody on the team that gets on the court. We've got to be a help-defensive team. We've got to be a better rebounding team. And we're not a shot-blocking team. I'm not trying to say we're gonna start blocking shots, but we've got to be in position, we've got to take charges."

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