Wizards head coach Scott Brooks had his team thoroughly tested last season, facing a myriad of injuries. As Washington prepares to be without highly-paid point guard John Wall for the 2019/20 season, Brooks was reflective on his team’s trying 2018/19 campaign.
Speaking to Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix, Brooks described the Wizards’ disbelief after Wall’s initial diagnosis. Wall, who signed a massive extension two summers ago, remains the organization’s top financial investment. Given the uncertainty of his health returning from an Achilles tear, it’s fair to wonder how impactful he’ll be when he’s ready to return.
Brooks also weighed in on Bradley Beal’s development and improved leadership. Here are some of the highlights:
How the Wizards handled John Wall’s injury:
“Well, you know a couple of things. I look back to the last couple of months. First thing you look back, I didn’t do a good job. I could have done things different, and then I think we’ve had some unfortunate luck with injuries and that’s the part you hate but you don’t prepare for it. You can never prepare for John missing 40 games last season and 50 games this season. Now who knows if he even plays. He’s working his butt off to get back, but I wasn’t expecting all that. I figured, ‘OK, we had our bad injury year,’ but last year it was just from the start. It was tough and John was a big part of our team. We were really good when John was healthy.”
The development of Bradley Beal:
“But the bright side of it is Bradley Beal really stepped up and took his game on the court and in the locker room to another level. And going forward he’s going to have to do that with the group of young players that we have. But also, with all that being said, we never made excuses. Not one time, not one time did any of our players make excuses. We had a lot of injuries and if we didn’t have injuries we would be competing against the best teams in the East.”
How Beal can further develop:
“Three years ago, when I took the job, I knew he could shoot. But he can score in every area of the floor, attack the basket, free throws, three points. And now I think the last year and a half he was able to facilitate and make his teammates better this year. I think there’s no limit. I think he can average eight or nine assists a game. I think those are numbers that are attainable, and I think he’s ready for that challenge.”