- Firing Scott Brooks
- Coaching prospects
- NBA Draft prospects
- Defensive Player of the Year weirdness
- …and Dion Waiters
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Ben Golliver of SI.com: “The problem for Presti, though, is that this move also conveys upon him all of the risk should the coaching change backfire. Yes, he’s avoided the possibility of scrambling to fire his coach, a la Cleveland in 2010. Yes, he’s set up the possibility that the arrival of a Billy Donovan or Kevin Ollie could produce a Steve Kerr-esque breakthrough. But he’s also made himself the obvious target if things go wrong. What happens if Durant and Westbrook struggle to adapt to a new offensive system? What happens if the next system can’t strike the right balance between the two scoring champions? What happens if their bond with their next coach isn’t as strong as it was with Brooks? What happens if the Thunder draws a horrible first-round matchup, like the Clippers and Spurs this year, and are eliminated quickly? Will Durant wonder if “the old way” was given a fair shot?”
Kevin Pelton of ESPN Insider: “So if not because of the 2014-15 season, why replace Brooks now? The answer surely lies in Durant’s foray into unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2016, some 14-plus months away. After years of conservatively managing their assets with an eye toward the long term, the Thunder have adopted a more aggressive posture in the past year. From the outside, it appears Presti is attempting to win with Durant on the roster and leverage those results to convince Durant to re-sign for the long term.” Keep Reading…
Sam Presti met with the media tonight to discuss the decision to “part ways” — also known as firing — with Scott Brooks.
He talked for almost 40 minutes, using his always impressive vocabulary, even digging so deep to throw out “intrinsic,” “organizational arch,” and “Socratic.” Big time night for Presti.
Here are the notable quotes: Keep Reading…
For the first time in seven years, the Thunder will have a new coach next season. Scott Brooks has been let go, and the Thunder are now in a position to go find a new voice to lead them into what’s their most important season yet.
After the Thunder walked off the floor in Minnesota last week, it seemed like there was no chance this would happen. But the momentum has been building the past few days, with it finally snowballing to the point of Brooks officially being fired today. It comes as a surprise, if only in the sense Brooks seemed likely to be given grace for this past season. Instead, the Thunder are using it as a chance to move in another direction.
Here are five thoughts about it all: Keep Reading…
(Are we back? I think we’re back!)
So, that happened. Here’s Sam Presti’s statement:
“This is an extremely difficult decision on many levels. Scott helped establish the identity of the Thunder and has earned his rightful place in the history of our organization through his seven years as a valued leader and team member,” said Presti. “As we all know, this past year we had unique and challenging circumstances and as I have conveyed, not many people could have accomplished what Scott and this team were able to. Therefore, it is very important to state that this decision is not a reflection of this past season, but rather an assessment of what we feel is necessary at this point in time in order to continually evolve, progress and sustain.
“We determined that, in order to stimulate progress and put ourselves in the best position next season and as we looked to the future, a transition of this kind was necessary for the program. We move forward with confidence in our foundation and embrace the persistence and responsibility that is required to construct an elite and enduring basketball organization capable of winning an NBA championship in Oklahoma City.”
More to come.
Berry Tramel says history isn’t on Scott Brooks’ side: “The case for Brooks is stout. His relationship with players. His teams’ playoff performance. Brooks’ record in playoff series is 8-5. That might not sound fantastic, but it mostly is. Doc Rivers, coaching the likes of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin and Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen, is 8-6 in the previous six postseasons. Gregg Popovich is 10-5 in playoff series since Brooks became the Thunder coach. Barely better than Brooks’ record. Plus Brooks has had the injury curse that cost the Thunder a possible NBA Finals return in 2013, made the Thunder play the Spurs short-handed for two games in the 2014 West finals and sunk this season. But something equally daunting works against Brooks. History. NBA history. No one ever won his first NBA championship after coaching a franchise as many as eight years. Red Auerbach won the 1957 title to ignite the Celtic dynasty; that was his seventh year coaching Boston. That’s the longest a franchise ever waited on a coach before being rewarded with the championship.”
Kevin Ollie issued a statement saying he’s not leaving UConn: “As I have said many times, I am proud and honored to be the head basketball coach at the University of Connecticut and I have no plans to pursue other opportunities. We are already excited about next season and I am looking forward to preparing our team to be the best we can be on the court, in the classroom, and in our community.” Keep Reading…
It’s been fun bringing you the “Week in Review” over the last 10 weeks, but I wasn’t ready for the party to end. And the season being over, a “Season in Review” is the perfect excuse to keep the lights on for a little bit longer in my special corner of the Daily Thunder universe.
Staying true to the Week in Review form, but giving myself a little extra space since an entire season is a wee bit longer than a single week, the “Season in Review” will be a six-part special. Up first will be the best player of the season, followed up by the best performance, the best play, the worst player, the worst performance, and the worst play. Keep Reading…
Kurt Helin of PBT on the Kevin Ollie rumor: “Of course, hiring Ollie a year before Durant’s free agency goes only so far. Even if Durant has a positive first impression of the move, so much could change by July 2016. Durant and Ollie haven’t experienced the coach-player relationship, and Ollie hasn’t coached in the NBA. Durant – like all players – wants a head coach he respects in that role and one capable of winning. Ollie seems like a good bet for both, but he might not be either. The most important thing the Thunder can do is get a coach who satisfies Durant after next season – whether that’s Ollie, Brooks or someone else.”
Darnell Mayberry: “Durant, who is an unrestricted free agent at the end of next season, credited Ollie with changing the culture in Oklahoma City during his playing tenure with the Thunder. Ollie’s leadership off the floor was what stood out, as Ollie appeared in only 25 games that season, averaging 1.8 points, one rebound and 0.8 assists in 10.5 minutes per game.” Keep Reading…