Time for OKC Thunder to Shake Up the Starting Lineup?

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Feb 4, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) is congratulated by head coach Scott Brooks during the second half of a game at the Smoothie King Center. The Thunder defeated the Pelicans 102-91. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

You don’t have to tell the Oklahoma City Thunder that something is wrong. This group has grown accustomed to winning roughly 70% of their games over the last five years. Now, they find themselves fighting tooth and nail in the viciously-unforgiving Western Conference just to stay at 0.500. Simply put, they don’t need to be reminded that things haven’t gone according to plan.

Perhaps no one is more acutely aware of the Thunder’s precipitous fall from grace than head coach Scott Brooks. Ask any Thunder fan about the primary cause of the team’s woes and the finger ends up squarely pointed in the coach’s direction. It’s hard to say whether this is definitively true or not, given that we’ve never seen this current incarnation of Oklahoma City without Brooks at the helm.

That begs the question, are the Thunder better without Scott Brooks? Hard to say. Would the team benefit from a more traditional, structured offense? Probably. Would a player like Russell Westbrook flourish in Greg Popovich’s pass-first offense and would Kevin Durant hold up well in Tom Thibodeau’s “40 minutes a night” system? Probably not, despite those two particular coaches being regarded as two of the best in the business.

So maybe the issue isn’t purely Brooks’ strengths or weaknesses as a strategist. Rather, the issue seems far more likely to be located squarely within lineup composition.

Next: The Current Lineup