Every team has their own identity and preferred style of play. Although Mark Daigneault was in just his first season as an NBA head coach in Oklahoma City last season, it’s already becoming clear how he wants his Thunder teams to play going forward.
Daigneault likes to play as many versatile players as possible and push the ball to increase the pace of play. Regardless of whether you’re a point guard or center, if you can handle the ball and bring it up the court efficiently, there’s no need for an outlet pass to the point guard on the floor. In fact, there were many times OKC played without a true point guard on the floor this season.
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In terms of pace, the Thunder were top ten in the entire NBA this season. Their 101.61 pace was the seventh-highest in the league, which was driven by how Daigneault has his team’s play style structured.
This also tied the second-highest pace in Thunder history. While the NBA game in general is increasing in pace as the years go on, this is still something to consider. While it was something former Thunder Head Coach Billy Donovan worked to implement, Daigneault has continued the trend of wanting to play with pace.
Whether it’s Aleksej Pokusevski playing shooting guard in big lineups or Isaiah Roby playing center in small ball situations, OKC tried a variety of players in multiple positions this season, whether it was their primary position or not. While this clearly brings versatility defensively, it also allows the Thunder to do things many teams can’t do offensively.
At the end of the day, Mark Daigneault is already starting to show he likes playing versatile and quick. That certainly will be something to keep an eye on when Oklahoma City drafts players over the next couple of years as they rebuild the roster towards contention.