City Sports Report

It’s Time For The Scott Brooks Era To Be Over In Oklahoma City

Scott Brooks' time could be coming to an end in Oklahoma City (photo courtesy of www.zimbio.com)

Kevin Durant is one of the biggest stars of the NBA. He, along with explosive point guard Russell Westbrook, have been the faces of the Oklahoma City Thunder for years. And along with that, they have been the ones that have been addressing the media the most from this team. Recently, Durant was asked about the media in regards to speculation about his head coach Scott Brooks, and the job security he may or may not have. His reaction: “You guys really don’t know s—t.” Noticeably, his frustration boiled over. But what did you expect from Durant? He has been coached by Brooks for the majority of his career. And with Brooks at the helm of his team, the team went from barely making the playoffs to a legitimate threat each year. But with Durant and Westbrook suffering injuries early this season and the team looking uneven at times, it’s starting to become even more noticeable that this team will not win with Brooks at the helm.

Brooks has been good for Durant and Westbrook. The two work well together despite the fact that many in social media and media as well try to drive a wedge between them. But for all that he has done to develop players like Durant, Westbrook and even big man Serge Ibaka, he has failed to develop two guys that could have helped them through the injuries this season. Perry Jones III and Jeremy Lamb were both exciting players when they were in college. Jones, a Kevin Durant clone, can do a little bit of everything. And it was his great combination of size (7’ tall), handles and shooting ability made scouts drool when he declared for the NBA Draft back in 2012. Because of what perceived as his lack of aggressiveness and decisiveness, he dropped down draft boards and fell right into the laps of the Thunder. Many looked at this piece as a great addition to the bench for Oklahoma City and quite possibly a piece that could be there for years to come. But unfortunately, Jones III has never found consistent minutes in the rotation. He has had some good moments on the court for the team, but they have been few and far between. Essentially, Jones III is now buried on the bench. And it seems like the end is coming for his time in Oklahoma City.

As far as Lamb, he was traded to the Thunder in the deal that sent guard James Harden to Houston. When he arrived, he was thought to be the shooting guard that was going to join Westbrook and Durant in the starting lineup. As a shooting guard coming out of the University of Connecticut, Lamb’s smooth stroke, athletic ability and size (6’5”) are what made him the 12th overall pick in the 2012 draft. But unfortunately, injuries and inconsistent playing time have found him at the end of the bench and fading more into oblivion more with each game. His shooting has come and gone as well as his confidence in playing. And as a result, it seems like he may be playing, or not playing, his way out of Oklahoma City. Not what was expected from this young many coming out of Connecticut. Lamb, along with Jones III, could have added a lot to this team with development and confidence, but it seems as if Brooks would give them confidence and have them playing well, only to bury them and their confidence after they played well. And instead of two productive members of their rotation, the team now has two wasted picks of the 2012 NBA Draft sitting at the end of their bench.

Brooks’ supporters can say that some of the development of Lamb and Jones III falls on them and that they didn’t succeed. But what can his supporters say about the offense of the Thunder. If you look around the NBA, there are a ton of different style of offenses. In Miami when they won two championships, they ran constant motion and movement. And that, along with having the best player in the game, LeBron James, helped the Heat win two titles in a row and helped them make four NBA Finals in a row. The Spurs have constant motion as well with their offense and they are never stagnant. That has helped them achieve the success they have had over the years. But with the Thunder, they have had some success but only one visit to the NBA Finals. Of course, the NBA’s Western Conference is tough, but with the caliber players that Durant and Westbrook are, there should be no reason these two have not had a run of going to or being close to the finals for more than they have. Of course, an injury or two have affected some things, but Brooks has been the main culprit here for a while and that is due to the Thunder’s offense. Everyone knows that Westbrook and Durant can go off on a team at any given moment. And they need their touches to make some things happen. But in order to put them in the best situations to be efficient and effective, they need some offensive structure. And with Brooks, there just never seems to be any structure at all. The most we have seen that resembles an offensive set from the Thunder offensively is a pick and roll or dumping the basketball in the post to one of their many inconsistent big men in the post. Ibaka is not a guy that can get the Thunder a basket on the block at all, so why the Thunder throw it to him down there is beyond me. The same can be asked about the post touches that Kendrick Perkins was getting down in the post. He has been a good defender for years, but he has never had a post game and it is silly for the Thunder to think he will gain one at this stage in his career. Doing things like giving Perkins and Ibaka touches on the block are what have many scratching their heads, wondering what Brooks is thinking. And as far as the offense of the Thunder, it’s mostly a one-on-one offense for Durant and Westbrook. If Brooks thinks relying on his two stars to be creative enough to break down defenses with no offensive sets will win, then he surely has missed the boat here.

But it’s not just his sets he runs during the flow of the game that draw the ire of many. In late-game execution, he seems to draw up things that don’t always look like a drawn up play. Of course the options are always Westbrook or Durant, but he could at least be creative and get them the basketball in an area with many different options. More often times than not, he runs a play that has them go one-on-one and settle for a jump shot. And with those shots being contested, the percentages of completion are not very good. Durant and Westbrook deserve to have a coach that will draw up a play to not only put them in a great position, but give them great outlets to pass to should it come down to that. Brooks simply has thrown it on his superstars and does not seem to ever have a Plan B or Plan C to anything he draws up. And as a result, the Thunder look disjointed in those final plays to win games.

Brooks has had a successful run as head coach of the Thunder. And he has made them better than they were before he took over. But with all things, there is a point and time where the party’s over and reality sinks in. The reality is that Brooks and his coaching staff have done all they can with Oklahoma City and it’s time for them to bring someone else in to lead this team. Even with the new pieces they recently added, he will probably still find a way to mess it up. They have been too talented over the years not to do even better than they have over the last few years.

For more sports talk, feel free to contact me via Twitter @General_MP or check me out on Facebook at Mike Patton-The General .

2 Comments

  1. ASR

    February 20, 2015 at 11:23 pm

    The sword of damocles swings over Scott Brooks head. He has been given the working tools and management is going to expect results in the playoffs. If they have an early exit he’s done like dinner.

  2. Lee Love

    February 21, 2015 at 12:01 am

    Good points made and I agree Brooks philosophy and coaching style with OKC has run it’s course, that’s not to say he’s not a good coach but something new is in order.

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