OKC Thunder bench boss Mark Daigneault draws comparison to legendary head coach

Mark Daigneault is "very similar" to legendary head coach, Brad Stevens, according to former player.
Nov 18, 2023; San Francisco, California, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault
Nov 18, 2023; San Francisco, California, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault / John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma City Thunder are off to a red-hot start this season, ranking second in the NBA's Western Conference with a 13-6 record through 19 games this season. After two 20-something win seasons, the OKC Thunder surprisingly rattled off 40 wins a year ago, earning a trip to the NBA play-in tournament.

If the OKC Thunder keep pace this season, Mark Daigneault, through four NBA seasons, will have two postseason appearances despite taking over a rebuilding squad. Not only were the Thunder in the midst of retooling their roster, but many questioned if Daigneault was just a sitting duck until OKC got to the other side.

Mark Daigneault earns high praise from former player and draws comparisons to a legendary coach.

That is not how Oklahoma City operates, they believed in Mark Daigneault the second they hired him to take over the reigns of the franchise. Despite not racking up a ton of wins, those two losing seasons were extremely valuable in instilling the principles we are seeing today in Bricktown.

Now, there is no question Mark Daigneault is the many for the job, with executives around the league showing the OKC Thunder bench boss a ton of respect in the annual preseason GM Survey.

Daigneault started his career as the franchise's G League Head Coach, where he crossed paths with Kameron Woods. Woods, Butler University's All-Time Blocks leader, played under Daigneault before transitioning to a coaching role with the Blue.

Mark Daigneault was elevated to the OKC Thunder bench as an assistant for Billy Donovan, whom Daigneault served as a Graduate Assistant for at the University of Florida back when Donovan was prowling the sidelines for the Gators.

When Donovan bolted for the Windy City after he and the franchise agreed to part ways, the Oklahoma City Thunder hired Daigneault to captain the ship.

Outside of his love for Bruce Springsteen, Daigneault has stayed as a mystery mostly, the way he likes it. However, over the course of four years, tidbits begin trickling out. With each passing anecdote, Thunder fans should feel even more excited for the future of the franchise with Daigneault leading the way.

Now, Kameron Woods has worked his way up to head coach of the OKC Blue after serving on Mark Daigneault's Thunder staff. In his second season as the Blue bench boss, Woods is finding his own voice as a coach. However, the influence of Daigneault can still be found.

After the Blue's big win over the Birmingham Squadron, Thunderous Intentions caught up with Kameron Woods about his coaching style evolving through a season and ten games.

Kameron Woods reflecting on the coaches he has been around, took the time to compare Mark Daigneault to his college coach, Brad Stevens.

"[Brad] Stevens was never a yeller, but [Brad Stevens] was a great communicator, Mark [Daigneault] is similar. The players respect him, I respect him. [Mark Daigneault] has a great ability to connect with players."

That is high praise from Kameron Woods to compare fourth year NBA head coach Mark Daigneault to the likes of former Boston Celtics and Butler Bulldogs head coach Brad Stevens.

Stevens was once revered as one of the best head coaches in the NBA, and in the college rank, he had Butler within a half-court heave of knocking off the Duke Blue Devils for a National Title.

From current to former players, coaches, and executives, it is clear the NBA world is sold on Mark Daigneault.

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