As the NBA dusted off its coaching carousel this month and the Boston Celtics, Portland Trail Blazers, Orlando Magic and Indiana Pacers all made changes at the head coaching position — Nate Bjorkgren, we hardly knew ye — the Washington Wizards trundle on without an answer to the single biggest question hanging over their offseason.
General Manager Tommy Sheppard said in an end-of-season news conference on June 3 that a decision about Coach Scott Brooks, whose five-year contract is expiring, will not be rushed.
In the meantime, Sheppard, majority owner Ted Leonsis and the other members of the Wizards’ front office won’t be flitting away their days on sandy beaches. Brooks is far from the only offseason task on the to-do list for an organization that now considers making the playoffs a baseline accomplishment.
“When you find something that works, you want to build on it,” Sheppard said. “Never say hey, let’s just run this back. This is not a run-it-back team. We have to get better, so to do that, you have to run it better. You have to build, you have to improve. And we’re going to do everything possible, look at every option that we can to make that happen.
“… I think [making the playoffs] was one significant step. Well now, that becomes the expected next year. Now we have to build on it.”
Washington has its road map to improvement already sketched out. After finishing 34-38 in the regular season, clinching the eighth seed in the playoffs and falling to the Philadelphia 76ers in a five-game series that felt more like a sweep, the Wizards know they need length and athleticism on the wing, vastly better three-point shooting and to finally address the issue that’s nagged them most for the past three seasons.