The Oklahoma City Thunder are clawing their way up in the Western Conference where the San Antonio Spurs and the Golden State Warriors rule as the NBA playoffs 2016 favorites. While fans of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green figure out ways to keep the lead away from Kawhi Leonard, Tim Duncan and LaMarcus Aldridge, the Russell Westbrook team struggles to battle the Los Angeles Clippers, Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers. With the clock ticking towards the Kevin Durant free agency, the Oklahoma City Thunder are desperately seeking ways to convince the NBA 2014 MVP to stay with the team.
The latest step taken by the Oklahoma City Thunder is reportedly geared towards the coaching staff. Rumor has it that the "amateur" way of Billy Donovan in handling the Westbrook-Durant tandem pushed the front office to reconsider their hiring decisions. Given the stature of the two stars, fans are wondering why the Oklahoma team could not rise to the challenges of the NBA today. Will these concerns spell the doom for Donovan and his career with the Oklahoma City Thunder?
"Sam Presti, while a good drafter, hasn't done his job in picking a head coach that can make the Russ and KD duo work together more fluidly," noted Angel Diaz of Complex. The analyst further noted, "They need a Hall of Fame-caliber coach to get it done. Billy Donovan will surely make it into the Hall as a college coach and has done a decent job in his first year coaching in the NBA, but it's still not enough for the Thunder at the moment. He needs time that the team just doesn't have."
Donovan was with the University of Florida for 19 years as the head coach of the Florida Gators basketball team. During his stint with the school, he led the team to win two NCAA championships. Apart from the University of Florida, Donovan also worked with Kentucky and Mashall University. He was signed by the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2015.
"Blame Sam Presti for hiring the wrong coach for the wrong time," pointed out Diaz. The expert continued to note, "College basketball and the NBA aren't the same. Million-dollar veterans have egos that need to be reigned in by someone who's able to deal with their personalities. Donovan may not get another chance to prove himself with this roster and it's unfortunate."
Meanwhile, the Oklahoma City Thunder staged a comeback following their disappointing first round against the Dallas Mavericks. In their second round, the Russell Westbrook squad made sure to pull out all the stops to ensure a landslide victory. Their 131-102 win over the Dallas Mavericks showed a stronger and more determined Kevin Durant team compared with their earlier 135-131 victory.