Washington fired Randy Wittman after missing the playoffs and finishing 41-41 on the year. The Wizards had decent squads over the last two seasons and obviously took a step back this year. Bradley Beal missed 32 games, and John Wall did all that he could to lead the team in an improved Eastern Conference.
After spending ten seasons as a player in the NBA, Brooks got his start as a coach in 2003 with the Nuggets. He was there for three years before going to Sacramento, Seattle, and Oklahoma City, where he’d become head coach after just one year as an assistant.
Brooks amassed a 338-207 (.620) record in seven seasons as the Thunder’s coach and led them to the NBA Finals in 2011-12 where they’d lose to the Miami Heat in five games. In 2009-10, he was voted Coach of the Year after Oklahoma City finished 50-32, a 28-game improvement on the year before.
The Thunder had a mediocre 2014-15 by their standards and were unable to qualify for the playoffs with their 45-37 record. Their record was, in large part, due to Kevin Durant being sidelined for 55 games with a foot injury. Sam Presti, Thunder GM, said last summer that the firing wasn’t because of not making the postseason, but instead because the team was going through a “transition.”
Bringing Brooks on board might have been influenced by Kevin Durant’s soon-to-be free agency. A hometown hero in the D.C. area, Durant could look to depart from the Thunder to go back home and team up with the coach who he praised endlessly after his termination.