OKC Thunder stars Describe Mark Daigneault's Impact After Winning Coach of the Year

Oklahoma City Thunder stars explain Mark Daigneault's impact on the team after taking home coach of the year honors voted on by his peers.
Feb 6, 2024; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jalen Williams (8) speaks with
Feb 6, 2024; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jalen Williams (8) speaks with / Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports
In this story:

The Oklahoma City Thunder (57-25) have completed one of the fastest rebuilds in the history of the NBA, especially for a squad that has been focused on internal development without hitting the free agency pool or trade market to overhaul the roster.

Oklahoma City is just two seasons removed from a 24-win campaign, after making the play-in tournament with 40 wins a season ago, the Thunder have raced to the No. 1 seed in the wild Western Conference. The youngest to ever pull off such a feat.

After finishing runner-up for Coach of the Year last year, Thunder bench boss Mark Daigneault is in line to sweep the honors this season after already nabbing the Coaches Association hardware.

After being voted coach of the year by his peers, the Thunder players spoke to just how valuable he is for this spunky squad after practice the last two days. Rising star Jalen Williams.

"I think it's always good to kinda have that validated. Especially by your peers and people you're competing against. Really happy for him," Williams said when asked about Daigneault receiving the NBCA Coach of the Year Award.

"He's coaching the second-youngest team in the NBA to the 1 seed... His biggest trait that serves us really well is being able to relate with us," Williams campaigned for the Thunder bench boss to take home the NBA's Coach of the Year Award voted on by the media.

The second-year forward was not the only player to discuss Daigneault's impact, even superstar Shai Gilgeous-Alexander gave him a lot of credit.

"He puts in a lot of work. Super humble guy. Obviously, very deserving. He got to his point for a reason... No matter who you are, he has a standard," Gilgeous-Alexander said following Wednesday's practice.

The Superstar explained how that standard is a good thing for such a young team, even if it stems from a constant attention to detail throughout a marathon run of an 82 game season.

“He’s annoying. Always nagging. But the best thing about him is that no matter who you are, he has a standard. Doesn’t matter if you been here five years, if you’re the best player on the team, worst player on the team. If you got here last week. There’s a standard. I think that’s what’s allowed our culture to be what it is," Gilgeous-Alexander said when describing Daigneault's coaching style.

The Oklahoma City Thunder will begin their first playoff run under Daigneault on Sunday, April 21 against either the New Orleans Pelicans or Sacramento Kings.

Want to join the discussion? Like Inside the Thunder on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to stay up to date on all the latest Thunder news. You can also meet the team behind the coverage.

Rylan Stiles


Rylan Stiles is a credentialed media member covering the Oklahoma City Thunder. He hosts the Locked On Thunder Podcast, and is Lead Beat Writer for Inside the Thunder. Rylan is also an award-winning play-by-play broadcaster for the Oklahoma Sports Network.