Oklahoma City likes Scott Brooks. The core Thunder players grew up in the league with him and bonded with him. He’s got good friends and supporters in the organization.
But is he the guy that can lead the Thunder to an NBA title? There are plenty of people around the league who said no — and said it long before this injury-plagued season. They say his offense, his Xs and Os, hold the team back.
With so much on the line next season — Kevin Durant will be a free agent after in the summer of 2016 and it would be much harder for him to walk away wearing a ring — the Thunder are going to closely evaluate whether or not to bring Brooks back, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are expected to spend time evaluating the partnership with coach Scott Brooks before committing to bring him back for the final year on his contract, league sources told Yahoo Sports….
Brooks is well liked within the organization and has forged close relationships with management and players in his seven years as head coach. Several league sources close to Brooks have doubts about his job security.
First off, this isn’t about the Thunder missing the playoffs this season. With the injuries to Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka, this team would have been a shell of itself no matter who sat in the big chair. Nobody is winning a title without those guys on this team.
This is all about keeping Durant and winning a title next season.
Which means Durant — and Westbrook — should have a voice in the decision. Management needs to talk to them, not follow what they say, but talk to them. Make your stars feel listened to and appreciated.
The knock on Brooks is his offensive sets are simplistic and common, lack good spacing or weakside movement, and if you blow them up the Thunder just fall back to Durant or Westbrook isolations. It just works because those guys are so good. While his critics concede Brooks was good at player development bringing up this Thunder core, they don’t think he’s the guy who can take them over the top.
Wojnarowski lists Florida coach Billy Donovan as a potential replacement. That seems a questionable call — not that Donovan can’t be a very good NBA coach, a lot of front offices like him. But if you’re ditching your coach because you need a guy to get you a ring, do you go to a college coach with no NBA experience? That’s a massive risk.
If the Thunder do this — and that is still a big if, he may well be back in OKC for an eighth season — GM Sam Presti needs to have a very good replacement lined up already. He can’t just go fishing and hope for something better.
If Brooks is let go, he would have little trouble finding another job. Both Orlando and Denver would be interested, Wojnarowski reports. As other job openings come up, there would be other teams interested.
This is going to be interesting to watch.