On the eve of the NBA season tipping-off, Scott Brooks took a moment to reflect on last season, his first as the head coach of the Washington Wizards. Under Brooks’ leadership, the Wizards jumped from a .500 record to 49 wins, going from fourth to first in the Southeast division, before losing in a seventh game to the Boston Celtics in the second round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs.
Brooks joined The Jim Rome Show Monday on CBS Sports Radio and said it’s never easy to start a new job, but it helps to be blessed with a special backcourt. He also hopes to build off the Wizards’ momentum in his second season. Brooks talked about what makes his backcourt special.
“I’ve had a chance to coach (Russell) Westbrook and now John Wall. Probably the two toughest most athletic competitive point guards in the league,” Brooks said. “So it’s good to have that. It’s a good base to have, and Bradley Beal, I thought last year with 23 points a game, and the way he defends, he should have been an All-Star… Our backcourt can be one of the best two-way backcourts in the league.”
Brooks had only seen Wall play from afar up until last season. But he spoke about just how impressed he is by the time the 27-year-old puts into his craft and how he deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the best players in the NBA.
“I didn’t realize how hard he worked in practice. John Wall is six-foot-four, 220 pounds, and it’s all muscle, and it’s speed, it’s determination, and that’s the thing I didn’t know last year going in,” Brooks explained. “He wants to get better. And you saw last year, he came in last season as a three-time All-Star, he made it again last year as a four-time All-Star, he’s gotten better this year, and I think now, he’s gotten to the level, that you can talk about in the MVP conversation. I’m not saying he’s the best player in the league, but he’s in the conversation now.”
Recently Beal said he felt like they now are the best team in the Eastern Conference. Brooks was asked whether he liked his shooting guard taking that belief public.
“I like confidence, I like guys that come in with swagger, I like teams that play with an edge. I think we have that, and in order to sustain success in this league you have to have that edge,” Brooks said. “But I tell our guys, let’s just play. Every night, let’s be the hardest working team on the floor. And if we do that with our talent base, we are going to be happy a lot of nights.”