Billy Donovan will leave the Oklahoma City Thunder after both sides concurred not to pursue a brand-new contract
It’s tough to envision a coach having to adjust more than Donovan did during his five-year run in OKC.
When Billy Donovan left the University of Florida for the Oklahoma City Thunder, it was to coach a team including Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. He got that chance for precisely one season, reaching the Western Conference Finals, blowing a 3-1 lead to the eventual champ Warriors, and then losing Durant to Golden State too.
Now, after five seasons in Oklahoma City, the Thunder and Donovan have decided to go their own methods.
Woj broadened on the circumstance here, and it truly does seem like a really shared, reasonable parting of methods:
Donovan’s very first NBA task most likely didn’t go as he was expectingb once Durant left after one season. (A minimum of he got that a person season, though, which is more than Byron Scott got with LeBron in Cleveland.) The Thunder became the Russell Westbrook program, with Donovan apparently delivering to the narrative that none of the supporting gamers were good enough to benefit Westbrook not attempting to balance a triple-double over an entire season. (Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis both seemingly showed that concept wrong once they got to Indiana.).
Then, after the Russ solo act season, the Thunder included Paul George from the Pacers, as soon as again offering Donovan 2 star-level gamers to deal with, something few coaches get once much less two times. However in 2 years with PG and Westbrook, the Thunder failed to win a playoff series. Then George, like Durant before him, likewise left for a California group, and the Thunder made a move towards rebuilding, shipping Westbrook to Houston for the aging Chris Paul.
This season, Donovan’s fifth and now last one with the Thunder, was maybe his finest work if we’re evaluating by the standard NBA-coaching evalation of comparing results to expectations. The Thunder even took Houston to the final minutes of a Video game 7 before bowing out, regardless of being outmanned in the talent department. Donovan was voted co-coach of the year with Milwaukee’s Mike Budenholzer, and it’s wild that one of those people is now leaving his job and the other one faced a lots of playoff criticism.
Donovan stays a little bit of an enigma, though, even after five years; it’s tough to pin down any sort of conclusive style or strategy, not even something like Nick Nurse’s “will change on the fly constantly”, which has actually ended up being a style of its own. Donovan clearly didn’t do a bad job there, and his reputation still appears strong in league circles; Woj is currently noting that other groups with openings will likely have interest.
Gamers play hard for him, he never appears overmatched, and there wasn’t enormous locker room drama or turmoil like we saw earlier this season in Cleveland when John Beilein made the relocation from college to the pros. (Bear in mind that? It feels like 15 years back now.) Donovan, because sense, should have credit for adjusting his design and handling a locker space at the pro level. He looks like a solid coaching choice, particularly for a rebuilding team like the Bulls. Whether he ‘d be the best choice for a team with superstar players and a win-now mindset, though, is a harder call.
Both Durant and Paul George ended up leaving, after all, with Durant taking some shots at Donovan on the method out (which he later apologized for.).
But that was also after simply one season for Donovan in the NBA. Most likely he’s discovered and progressed from that experience, and it’s also taking the word of Kevin Durant, who has never ever been the simplest gamer to coach. (Kenny Atkinson never ever even got the chance to.).
And regarding why Donovan’s coaching style hasn’t made much of a mark, it’s crucial to look at that roster volatility. Probably simply once (George’s 2nd season there) did Donovan get to bring over a system developed around the exact same leading player( s). It is difficult to build any kind of continuity under those circumstances.
Whether it’s in Chicago, New Orleans, Philadelphia, or somewhere else, Donovan is going to get another NBA job if he desires one. Maybe there we’ll get to find out more about what he gives the table as a professional head coach.