What the Thunder are Really Looking For in a Head Coach

We discuss the most important characteristics of an NBA coach and what you can expect from the next person taking over the Thunder sidelines.
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After writing a piece about how Bucks assistant Darvin Ham I was asked about his coaching style, not to be dismissive of the question, but it's not something that matters in an NBA coaching search. 

Any coach worth their salt can adjust to the players they have, plus, the most important job you have is to be able to manage 15 different cooperation (aka players) and keep your locker room from blowing up during the season. For all the books, you can read about how Phil Jackson handled Kobe Bryant and Michale Jordan; there is no one way of keeping a team focused on the task at hand. 

My co-host on 97.1 The Sports Animal in Tulsa, Pat Jones, who spent ten years in the NFL, will tell you that a coach must be themselves because pros can spot a fake in an instant.  Know what you're doing, have confidence, and be consistent; it's not rocket science, but man, we want to pick apart every little thing as to why someone is having success while others are not.  

Then we want to take the low hanging fruit, thinking the Thunder need to do things the way the Clippers are Bucks are. Even organizations need to know who they are and operate accordingly. 

Talk show host in Oklahoma City used to rail on Scott Brooks for his "inept playing calling" out of a time out. According to Kevin Arnovitz, play calling in the NBA has never been less important. 

It's the player, not the play, who will determine a coach's fortune. As coaching has evolved from craft to art in today's NBA, fewer possessions are strict interpretations of the coach's playbook. Sets that were once ordered by the sideline are now basic actions that promote playmaking opportunities in a free-flowing system.

Devising a coverage scheme is a task that can be delegated to a bright assistant, but listening to a player, demanding accountability from him and his 14 teammates, and voicing a message that inspires rests with a head coach.

The most important person in the Thunder's organization is Sam Presti; as long as he's in charge, the organization will be well run. What we must pay attention to is what happens when he leaves. 

Will Clay Bennett keep the same model of General Manager in charge, or could he let the head coach have a little more power? All that will depend on who's in place when that happens or whom he may have a chance to get. 

We're going to overthink everything the Thunder is doing in the next few weeks. But, rest assured with Presti at the helm, he will make a well-informed decision without the pressure of the owner or the media, and that's the way it should be. 

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With more than 20 years of experience hosting local and national radio shows, Erik Gee is a fixture of Oklahoma sports media. He has covered the Oklahoma City Thunder for the past six seasons. He is also the co-host of the Pat Jones show on 97.1 The Sports Animal in Tulsa.