Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Wednesday Windmill: The Oklahoma City Thunder need to fire Scott Brooks
The Oklahoma City Thunder have to seriously think about firing their head coach Scott Brooks and I'm not just saying this because the team is 10th in the Western Conference with a 27-25 record. I've felt for quite some time that Scott Brooks may not be the man for the job, but now I think a coaching change is needed in order for this team to win a championship with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant.
The main reason I feel this way is that the team has regressed ever since they reached the NBA Finals. It's not Brooks' fault that James Harden left after the NBA Finals, but he does need to take accountability for the fact that the team isn't progressing towards a championship.
Throughout the history of sports we have seen teams fail to be able to win a championship under one coach, but able to win one under the next coach. Such examples include Jon Gruden replacing Tony Dungy on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Phil Jackson replacing Doug Collins on the Chicago Bulls, Larry Brown replacing Rick Carlisle on the Detroit Pistons, and Rick Carlisle replacing Avery Johnson on the Dallas Mavericks. There are enough examples to draw from that is reasonable for the Thunder to think that they might find championship success under a new coach.
Sometimes teams need coaching changes even when the current coach is actually a good coach. In the examples I used, all the coaches that got replaced by another guy are very good coaches. So, the fact that the Thunder may need to move on from Scott Brooks isn't necessarily an indicator that he is doing a bad job.
Sometimes teams need a new voice and a new philosophy, and the Thunder in my book definitely need that. They need to see what somebody else can do with the Russell Westbrook/Kevin Durant tandem since that's a tandem that should be able to win a championship. Scott Brooks seems to have squeezed out all he can from those two players and judging by the lack of championship success, he clearly hasn't gotten enough out of them.
Lastly, I don't really think Scott Brooks is all that innovative, creative, or special. He just seems to be a run of the mill NBA coach who is just happy to have two of the top five players in the league on his team. Superstar players need superstar coaches in order to win championships, and Scott Brooks is definitely not a superstar coach. They need somebody who has a serious coaching pedigree and has a resume filled with success in the NBA.
Some of these possible candidates include Jerry Sloan, George Karl (who likely is heading to the Kings), Doug Collins, Jeff Van Gundy, Avery Johnson, Rick Adelman, and Mike D'Antoni. Jerry Sloan would be the best fit, though given his age and position in the Jazz organization it is unlikely he would take the job. George Karl, who as I have mentioned is likely heading to the Kings, would be a fantastic fit given his history of success with the Seattle SuperSonics and his ability to turn teams around. Everybody else on this list also has a pattern of success worthy of being considered to be the next coach of the Thunder.
The bottom line is that the Scott Brooks era hasn't produced a championship and the Thunder don't have the time to see if Scott Brooks can deliver them a championship. Durant's impending free agency and the fact that teams around them are getting better makes the need for a new coach a rather urgent need for this team. If I were the Thunder, I would fire Brooks right now and see who I can get as a new head coach. I can guarantee that all of the guys I mentioned above would love the chance to coach the Thunder given the potential they have to win a title.
The advantage of firing Brooks now is that this season is a lost season anyways, and if the team makes the playoffs it could be beneficial for them to have gone through a series or two with their new coach before the new season begins. The only downside to firing Scott Brooks is that Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant are fiercely loyal to him, but that is why players play and general mangers manage. If it were up to the players, a lot of important coaching changes wouldn't happen since they tend to not see the big picture. Looking at the big picture, it's clear that the Thunder need a new coach and they might as well get the ball rolling as soon as possible.
---Ben Parker: follow me on twitter @nba_lord for NBA news