Scott Brooks Rumors
If Beal does return to the Wizards, he’ll have a new coach in Scott Brooks, who replaced Randy Wittman. Despite Beal’s contract status, the two met for lunch in Los Angeles recently. “It was a good move. In some ways he’s similar to Witt,” said Beal, who was not consulted during the coaching search. “He allows his players a lot of freedom on the offensive end but he’s a defensive-minded coach. I got to pick his mind a bit and he’s great. I got a great feel for him. He’s really a player’s coach. He loves to be hands-on. He loves to develop guys and get his guys better. On top of that, he’s a proven coach. He’s shown that he can win and he’s shown that he can get his players to the finals. That’s exciting. It’s great to be in a situation to have a coach with that experience. He’s been there before. We’ve been in the playoffs, too. So put those two together and hopefully we make something work.”
The coach had traveled to Orlando to meet his center and discuss a vision for the team’s future. Gortat, one of the strongest personalities on the team, had longstanding friction with former head coach Randy Wittman. His enthusiasm and confidence will be key to Brooks’ plans on defense in particular.
Marcin Gortat: Class act from our new @washwizards Head coach Scott Brooks who came all the way down to Orlando to meet with me ! We had great conversations about our team future!! We have one goal… WIN! Can’t wait to start training camp. Fresh start for everybody. Thx to @urbain40 for hosting #wizards and looking forward to another visit! … btw I was joking about this training camp!
Brooks, 50, doesn’t veil his affinity for the data. During his year away from coaching, he attended the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston in March and was on a four-person panel called “Modern NBA Coaching: Balancing Team and Talent.” He enjoyed his time at the event, but hopes he doesn’t return for a long time because that would mean he’s unemployed again. “They called it jocks versus geeks,” Brooks said. “But the one thing … and I didn’t know this, they’re a lot smarter than me but they all share the same passion I have with basketball. They love the game and I’ve always felt it’s not a division, it’s a group. And you’ll never hear me say, ‘Those guys.’ We’re all in it together and I think it’s important.”
Last week, Brooks met with members of the analytics team. He put on a pair of virtual reality goggles and went through a playbook wearing them. He admits he has plenty to learn in his second stint as an NBA head coach and the information can only help, but insisted advanced metrics are just a tool at his disposal. “I think it’s going to continue to develop and you just have to figure out what’s best for each player,” Brooks said. “One thing that I do know: That you can never replace the metrics with the person. It’s about people, it’s about players. But the numbers can enhance and help them improve as players.”