The Washington Wizards are in the 3rd spot in the Eastern Conference sitting 30-20. But it hasn’t come without some harsh moments for the Wizards. They started the season with a 7-13 record after going 3-9. The Wizards are quietly becoming relevant in the East. In the last 27 games, the Wizards have won 20 of them.
The offense this season that Brooks is running with the Wizards is not the same offense he was running while with the Oklahoma City Thunder. With the Thunder, Kevin Durant was the primarily ball handler because their point guard Russell Westbrook hadn’t grown into the player he is today yet. With the Wizards offense, John Wall is the primary ball handler just as he has been for years, even when Randy Wittman was the head coach.
There is a lot more movement in this offense, which moves around the defense and gets them off of their defensive sets. The most used set recently is a pin from the ball screener, then going into that is a back screen. The play opens a lot up for Wall. Being the fantastic playmaker he is, Wall can drive to the basket or kick it out to the open man for an open jumper, as he would draw in help defenses. He can also kick it to Marcin Gortat to take to the basket or set in a deep post position.
— Wiz of Awes (@WizOfAwes) February 1, 2017
With Porter and Beal’s development, they have a lot more skills when it comes to attacking the basket. Both Beal and Porter are very skilled sharpshooters behind the arc. So if either of them does a pump fake, the defender usually falls for it, which all together gets the defender off balance. If there is an open lane, then they can take it to the basket for ease.
Another big reason the Wizards are so successful is the emergence of small forward Otto Porter, Jr. He has quietly become a big part of the Wizards offense as he leads the NBA in 3-point percentage at 47 percent. He is averaging the most points (14.2), rebounds (6.6), and assists (1.6) of his career so far this season. A lot has to do with how he fits in with Brooks’ offence.
— Mike Zavagno (@MZavagno11) January 29, 2017
In Oklahoma City, Brooks had then-Thunder star Kevin Durant at the small forward position. Durant and Porter have a very similar game and body size. This is likely a big reason for Porter’s growth. Brooks can relate how he developed Durant and apply the same mindset with Porter’s improvement.
Kelly Oubre, Jr. has also stepped up his game a lot after a somewhat down rookie season. He is putting up 6.5 points and 3.5 rebounds in his sophomore campaign. When Markieff Morris comes off the court and Oubre subs in for him, the offense appears to be a lot smoother and quicker. They have the ability to run in transition better and his long wingspan helps contribute to better defense.
Brooks has helped this team a lot, but they haven’t proven to be able to compete with elite teams. They were outplayed in all areas when they faced LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier in the season.
There have been many speculations as to whether or not the Wizards have enough talent to make it to the Eastern Conference Finals. But with the confidence that the players have now, they could very well have a chance.