Seven head coach candidates with ties to the OKC Thunder
The OKC Thunder is a franchise whose front-office personnel is among the best in the league. The frontman of the Thunder has successfully established a strong culture and is known for his magician-like trades. But, two of his better attributes are loyalty and patience.
That was evident in how Presti handled the Billy Donovan tenure. Over his five seasons, Donovan suffered tough playoff losses including falling to the Warriors after leading the series 3-1 plus the back-to-back first-round ousts to underdogs Utah and Portland.
Yet, in spite of these failures, Presti stuck by his coach and that commitment paid off this past season when the Thunder overachieved. Granted, the final play calls from Game 7 will haunt Thunder fans but you have to admire Presti’s loyalty and faith in Donovan.
OKC Thunder candidates with ties to the franchise
Many assume Donovan left OKC because the team is tanking but the truth is no one knows for sure if Presti will elect to jettison Chris Paul, Steven Adams, and Dennis Schroder in trades to improve the team’s chances of tanking. Or if he’ll elect to follow the example of the Celtics who were in a similar spot with all the Nets draft picks. To wit, Boston simultaneously grew their young talents remaining competitive while using their draft picks to bolster the roster.
Given the uncertainty of what direction Presti will take, who he hires should offer insight into what his intentions are. That person will most assuredly need to have strengths in player development. Regardless of what option Presti selects, the growth of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Darius Bazley, and Luguentz Dort along with the players who’ll be added through the draft are essential.
Ideally, the new head coach will be prepared to weather the storm of a possible tank combined with the ability to lead the team to a title once the potential rebuilding phase is complete.
Something that could factor in the decision is familiarity with the franchise. Existing associates or former players will have knowledge of the players or how the team functions giving them an advantage over other candidates.
There are seven head coach candidates who fall into this category. Let’s take a look