With the Washington Wizards widely expected to fire head coach Randy Wittman, the team has already begun compiling a list of potential replacements.
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Wizards Targeting Brooks, Hornacek
Thursday, April 14
Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reported Scott Brooks and Jeff Hornacek are among the two early favorites.
Brooks, 50, did not coach in the NBA in 2015-16 after the Oklahoma City Thunder fired him last offseason. Hornacek, 52, was ousted by the Phoenix Suns in February after an ugly 14-35 start.
The ties to Brooks here are pretty obvious. The Wizards are expected to put on a full-court press to bring Kevin Durant back to his hometown. Brooks coached Durant for parts of seven seasons in Oklahoma City, and the two had a good relationship. ESPN.com’s Ian Begley, reporting about the New York Knicks’ chance of landing Durant, wrote hiring Brooks would “influence” a team’s chance of landing the former MVP.
As a coach, Brooks’ resume is a little more shaky. He posted a 338-207 record with the Thunder, earning a reputation for his strong work in player development. Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Serge Ibaka each made huge leaps as players thanks in part to Brooks. But he’s generally viewed as an average (at best) tactical mind who was unable to push a talented OKC core to the next level.
Hornacek peaked in his first season in Phoenix. Hired as part of what appeared to be a tanking effort, Hornacek reinvigorated the franchise with a guard-heavy, uptempo offense that wound up pushing the Suns to a 48-34 record. Phoenix regressed to the mean a little bit in 2014-15 before totally falling off a cliff this past season.
Hornacek feuded with Markieff Morris and seemingly lost the Suns locker room, as their playoff hopes were dashed almost immediately. The front office gutted Hornacek’s staff before letting him go Feb. 1, replacing him with the untested Earl Watson.
Adding Hornacek to the Wizards would be interesting, if only because it would reunite him with Morris. That…doesn’t seem like an ideal team-building exercise. On the other hand, Hornacek did some nice things developing Phoenix’s young guards and might push the John Wall-Bradley Beal combo to the next level.