The Oklahoma City Thunder have officially gotten their man, signing Billy Donovan to be the team’s new head coach.
After all the speculation and media reports about Billy Donovan studying Kevin Durant and Billy Donovan being friends with Scott Brooks, the Thunder have made it official. Billy Donovan is the team’s next head coach.
The reports are that it was a multi-year deal possibly up to 5 years. Billy Donovan has been the coach at Florida for 19 years and brought them 2 national championships.
It was reported after the firing of Scott Brooks that Billy Donovan and Sam Presti have been friends for several years. All of this seemed to point towards the notion that Billy Donovan was going to coach the Thunder before Scott Brooks was fired. As devious as this sounds, it seems like the only logical course for the Thunder. If your going to make a high risk moves it is best to try to stay two step ahead of the game.
It is hard to gauge just how this move will pan out. We have all seen the disparity that exists between NCAA success and NBA success. Those with more knowledge on his head coaching abilities and strong suits have stated that he is strong in the areas in the Thunder have been looking to refine under Scott Brooks.
This isn’t unabashed support of him, as coaching in general is fickle in the NBA, but his offensive system is suppose to be the space and pace system that is the new standard for success in the NBA. One the knocks over the years has been Scott Brook’s unimaginative offense, and signs point this new hire as a solution that problem.
From a personal standpoint one of the issues that will be in the back of my mind is how will Russell Westbrook handle this. I don’t doubt that he will put his head down and be the hardest working man in the NBA, but we haven’t seen this Westbrook under any other coach. UCLA Westbrook is in no way OKC Westbrook. Credit has to be given to Scott Brooks for playing Westbrook through his learning years. Brook not only played him but supported him and let him just be him.
Honestly, Godspeed Billy Donovan, I do not want to be you. In order to make it to 2017 with your new job you have to basically have to be Coach of the Year. You have to keep Kevin Durant in OKC, implement a innovative and forward thinking offensive system, and have some sort of rapport with Westbrook. The Thunder for many years have been championship or bust and now it appears it is the coach’s turn.
The truth is, with recent success of rookie coaches in the past few years, everyone is now looking for their Brad Stevens. Just look at this years COY candidates, they were all either rookies in the last 3 years or Gregg Popovich.
Could Billy Donovan join their ranks in 2015-16?
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