Rumors are swirling that Scott Brooks is on his way out the door in Oklahoma City, and the Thunder are reportedly looking into UConn’s Kevin Ollie as his replacement.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have been the epitome of a disappointment throughout an injury-plagued 2014-2015 campaign, and the team’s underachievement in both this season, as well as in the playoffs in recent years has head coach Scott Brooks on the hot seat.
Despite having two of the best players in the league in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the Thunder have only been to the NBA Finals once, back in 2012 when they were manhandled and outclassed by LeBron James and the Miami Heat. The Thunder lost that series four games to one, traded a future MVP candidate in James Harden for next to nothing the following offseason, and since then, have never returned to what once appeared to be a team on the cusp of a dynasty.
With the Thunder free-falling out of the playoffs to end the season, Brooks’ future in Oklahoma City is as bleak as it has ever been. There have been constant rumors surrounding the potential coaching vacancy, but the most recent reports have named University of Connecticut head Kevin Ollie as someone that the Thunder organization is seriously considering as a possible replacement.
It is no surprise at all that Kevin Ollie would be coveted by an NBA franchise, especially one in need of a jump-start like the Thunder.
In 2014, just his second season as a head coach, he led the UConn Huskies to a national championship, despite entering the tournament as a No. 7 seed. He also spent 13 seasons as a point guard in the NBA, ending his playing career with the Thunder in 2010.
During his brief time in Oklahoma City, Ollie made a tremendous impression on Durant, who credits his former teammate and potential new coach for playing an instrumental role in developing a winning culture in the Thunder locker room.
"“Kevin Ollie, he was a game-changer for us,” Durant told ESPN’s Bill Simmons on the B.S. Report during All-Star weekend last season, via CBS Philadelphia. “He changed the whole culture, I think. He might not say it, but I think he changed the whole culture in Oklahoma City.”"
Hiring a coach of Durant’s liking could be a smart move for the Thunder, as the highly-coveted superstar is scheduled to hit the free agent market in 2016, and despite being just 42-years old and only having three years of head coaching experience, including none at the NBA-level, Kevin Ollie’s resume is nothing short of what you would look for in the next great NBA coach.
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