NBA

Wizards appoint Brian Keefe as head coach in interim stretch

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After leading the Wizards‘ locker room on an interim basis since January until the end of this past campaign, the Washington organization has finally decided to hire Brian Keefe as their official head coach. This news hit the NBA shores last week as the franchise is beginning to take long-term decisions heading into the summer.

Just as Wes Unseld Jr. was discharged after Washington’s poor 7-36 run at the start of the present year, Keefe was then promoted from an assistant to interim head coach. From January 25 until the end of regular season, he went 8-31 the rest of the way.

Wizards general manager Will Dawkins is convinced he’s the right person for the job. “We are excited for Brian to become our next head coach. Brian is a proven motivator and connector of people,” he said in a statement.

“As a leader in the organization, he will continue to positively grow and invest into the development of our players. His wealth of experience will help move our team forward as we build for long-term sustained success,” he added.

Keefe has been at it for a while, as the veteran coach first was an assistant in Oklahoma City back when the Thunder played the NBA Finals in 2012. He was then hired for a couple of years in Brooklyn, until he finally decided to join the Washington club.

“I look forward to continuing to work with our players and helping them grow and develop,” Brian expressed after the news surfaced. “As a team, we are committed to a collaborative approach to build an environment of accountability and hard work that allows us to improve every day.”

This season wasn’t an easy one for the Wizards, especially as they decided to brake up their core last summer, trading out stars Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis. After producing a franchise-record 67 losses this year, the Washington organization are looking up for a great preseason. It is important to mention that the team has the second pick in the upcoming 2024 NBA Draft.

The Wizards roster have complete trust in Brian Keefe, as they believe he did a great job rallying the players together last season

Now the Washington club will have the opportunity of preparing for a full campaign with Keefe in charge, as they hope to advance to the NBA Finals for the first time in almost 45 years. The good thing is, his players also believe he’s the perfect man for the job, as the respect they have for him is evident.

“BK did a tremendous job,” Jordan Poole said back in April. “Credit to him for rallying our guys together through a long season, playing players to their strengths all across our team and keeping guys together. He did a really good job of allowing me to play my true position and play more on ball. So he did a really good job. Credit to him — it was a tough move right away, being in the middle of the season.”

The truth is, so many players throughout the league have shown respect for Keefe in the past, even superstar Kevin Durant, who was his pupil over a decade ago. Another who gave positive comments during Washington’s exit interviews two months ago was Landry Shamet.

“I’ve never felt closer with a group of guys than I do with these guys,” the guard said. “Winning can mask a lot of stuff that’s going on in a lot of other organizations. I think it was encouraging to see that there’s a real vested interest in building a foundation of community and connectedness here, and that definitely was noticed.”