3 takeaways from first-round series between Thunder and Pelicans

Apr 29, 2024; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2)
Apr 29, 2024; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) / Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
3 of 3

Unique rotation

Mark Daigneault's decision to rotate players the way he has is unlike anything we've seen in the NBA playoffs so far. 

11 players saw action in all four games played. Comfortably, this was the longest rotation of players a coach has applied during this postseason run. 

This is unique for this season’s coach of the year. Typically, coaches cut rotations short in the postseason as players take on bigger roles in bigger moments. 

Daigneault does not subscribe to that principle. 

"There’s advantages to having depth,” Daigneault said. “If we (played) eight guys last night, and we had to pivot to one of the other three or four that didn’t play. Now you’re like dusting them off. They haven’t gotten in a game yet. They haven’t touched the floor yet. They haven’t gotten a taste yet. And now you’re going to them and it’s somewhat reactive."

The Thunder coach is fearless in taking unique stands in his approach. As great coaches should always strive for, they should want to be innovative in their ways on the playoff stage. In his first year taking part in such action, Daigneault is doing exactly that.

"I understand there’s norms but we want to expose ourselves to being the best team we can be. We’re willing to do things a little differently"

Mark Daigneault

Coming into this year's NBA Playoffs, MVP candidate Shai Gilgeous-Alexander suggested that his team's inexperience on this big stage could play to their advantage, noting that their unfamiliarity could actually make them play more "free."

Clearly, through four games, it's become evident that this Thunder squad has been free-flowing, and it's largely in thanks to Daigneault's decision-making on the sidelines.

However, moving forward, this rotation pattern will be tested, as a deep playoff run awaits them.

Let's see if this method to rotations can hold up.