Thunder coach Mark Daigneault gets ringing endorsement for COY from former player

Mar 29, 2024; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault
Mar 29, 2024; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault / Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

The OKC Thunder have been arguably the biggest surprise team of the 2023-24 season.

From securing just their sixth 50+ win season since moving to the 405 in 2008 to clinching their first playoff berth in four years, this Oklahoma City squad has gone from lottery-bound to a legitimate title contender within a span of months.

And while the vast majority of the credit for their upswing has gone to the likes of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who finds himself soundly in the running for this year's MVP award, coach Mark Daigneault has received his fair share of praise for his efforts leading the charge on the sidelines as well.

As a result of his team's successes, the fourth-year headman currently places as one of the favorites to take home NBA Coach of the Year honors.

Though others such as Orlando's Jamahl Mosley and Minnesota's Chris Finch also seem to have strong arguments for why they may deserve to receive such a moniker, it is Daigneault who is seen as the frontrunner in the illustrious race and, according to retired NBA forward Chandler Parsons, the voting shouldn't be all that close.

Chandler Parsons says Thunder coach Mark Daigneault is 'unbelievable'

"I think it's [Daigneault's] no matter what just because the youth of this team and kind of how quickly they've just become a top-tier team in the NBA not only just in the Western Conference but in the entire league... Clearly this guy, he knows what he's doing. He's put them in the right spots, his offense has been great to have these guards flourish. How he goes small-ball with Chet Holmgren at the five but then sometimes he moves him to the four... His defense has been great all year long. You got to give him credit... He's been unbelievable, so it's much deserved because nobody though the Oklahoma City Thunder were gonna be here. That to me gives him the edge."

Chandler Parsons

While relaying his argument on the award race, Parsons would also reveal that he and Daigneault have a bit of history together, as the two of them were both members of the Florida Gators back in 2010, with the former serving as the team's starting forward while the latter held an assistantship role, ironically under former Thunder coach, Billy Donovan.

Last season, the headman was also in strong consideration for the lofty honors, as he finished second in the running behind Kings coach, Mike Brown.

Considering within just a year Daigneault has brought them from a 40-win Play-In Tournament team to a top-three seed in the Western Conference, it seems both the odds-makers and Parsons are convinced that the 39-year-old will finally be able to break through that second-in-command slot in the voting turnout.