A few years back in the 2008-2009 season Scott Brooks and the Young Thunder were the perfect compliments to each other. With Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook leading the charge it appeared as if the Thunder were next in line to take over Western Conference supremacy. Predictions in the forecast were right.
The then nucleus of James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and Kevin Durant matured faster than what many people expected and made a NBA Finals appearance in the 2012 after playing three seasons together. Though, the Thunder lost to the Miami Heat many people were excited about what the Thunder could become.
This summer OKC GM Sam Presti made a contract offer to James Harden that he turned down. Harden was then traded to the Houston Rockets days before the NBA season had begun. In return the Thunder received Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, as well as a few future first-round draft picks.
The trade created a lot of controversy, but in reality the Thunder did not have a way to pay Harden the money that he had expected. This past season Martin filled the role of the 6th man position pretty well (except for the playoffs). As James Harden blossomed into a top-tier shooting guard it made Thunder fans cringe. Without Harden the Thunder finished first in the brutal Western Conference. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook’s game went to new heights while head coach Scott Brooks just managed the troops.
Some people say when adversity strikes you see people’s true colors. In the early part of the opening playoff round against the Houston Rockets Russell Westbrook tore his meniscus after a bush league play by the Houston Rockets Patrick Beverly. Life was not so rosy after that moment. Kevin Durant had to play the role of Mr. Everything as he lost his side kick. Reggie Jackson played pretty well, but when you are replacing a superstar it is hard to expect anything less.
One of the biggest question marks that had rose after Westbrook’s departure was the game management of Scott Brooks. Brooks’s mishaps were often clean up by superb play by Durant or Westbrook. With one of his warriors out it was clear as day that Scott Brooks is not what we think he is.
The Oklahoma City Thunder lost to the Memphis Grizzlies in 5 games, and Scott Brooks was badly outcoached by Lionel Hollins. From having Kevin Durant guarding Marc Gasol in game 4 to leaving Kendrick Perkins in the game for an extensive period of time. There were many head scratching moments that would make you wonder about Brooks.
The Thunder will get a pass for their playoff failures this season, because Russell Westbrook was out due to injury. If this trend continues what will Sam Presti do? I know that Scott Brooks’s job is safe for now, but if he fails to take this team to the next level he may end up in the unemployment line. Memo to Brooks: Shape up or you’ll be shipped out!