WASHINGTON (The Fan D.C.) -- The struggles of the Washington Wizards, particularly on the defensive end, partially show Scott Brooks is not working out as the head coach, The Sports Junkies said Friday.
"This team clearly does not respond to him defensively. It clearly is not working," host Eric Bickel said of Brooks. "I don't know what they should do, but, you know, it's not working."
Columnist John Feinstein agreed with Bickel on the lack of effort, but disagreed with the cause.
"No, it's definitely not working, and to me, that's on the players," Feinstein told 106.7 The Fan. "And it's also on, you know, some guys who just aren't good at defense. They try and they're not good. I'm just not sure if these guys are trying or not."
Though a lack of effort by the players doesn't paint them in a good light, Bickel believes Brooks bears some responsibility as head coach.
"That's the problem, though. I don't think he can get ... he's not getting them to try," Bickel said.
Feinstein disagreed this was Brooks' fault alone.
"I'm not sure if that's on him or that's on them," he said. "I think it's one of those deals where coaches often get fired because you can't fire a whole team, and Scott may lose his job at the end of this season. But the reason they're this bad is not because of Scott Brooks. He was a good hire."
The Wizards, who at 22-32 currently sit in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, made a pair of deals before Thursday's trade deadline – sending Otto Porter to the Chicago Bulls and Markieff Morris to the New Orleans Pelicans – in moves to cut salary. In December, Washington dealt Kelly Oubre and Austin Rivers to the Phoenix Suns for Trevor Ariza.
The moves signaled to many a new direction for the franchise, with the Wizards no longer chasing the playoffs this season. Washington GM Ernie Grunfeld said the moves were made to "stay competitive."
"That's a ridiculous comment," Feinstein said. "If I were a fan of the team, it would make me angry."
Whether the blame lies at the feet of Brooks, Grunfeld, or owner Ted Leonsis, the bottom line is: The Wizards aren't performing consistently.
"They pop up for one game against a good team, they play the Warriors and they'll play 'em to the buzzer," Feinstein said. "That tells you there is talent there, but they're just not doing their job. They don't care enough."
By Ben Krimmel