Too often in the sports world, people draw irrational conclusions based on a small sample size. Once the Thunder lost the Finals, the annual Phil Jackson rumors centered on them. From the first second I heard that until today, when it was reported that the Thunder and Scott Brooks are close to a new contract that totals around $16 million for 4 years, I couldn’t understand it.
Scott Brooks turned around Oklahoma City, bringing them back from the depths of a 22-47 record after taking over the head coaching position mid-season. Just a year later, the Thunder lost in the first round of the playoffs. They lost in the conference finals the next year, and this year they lost to a dramatically more experienced Heat team in the Finals.
James Harden is 22, and Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are each 23. Not only would a coaching change not have made sense for the Thunder, but for Jackson as well. Would he really want to retire as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder, a team perfectly set up to win a championship? Is his goal to just add another ring, no matter what the cost? It would only satisfy the skeptics who criticize Jackson for the talented rosters and perfect scenarios he’s inherited.
Even though the rumored move is incomprehensible, it certainly made for good headlines. Brooks isn’t the type of coach the public respects. He’s unassuming, quiet and humble. It’s not quite the vision of Vince Lombardi motoring up and down the sidelines inspiring his team with quotable phrases of eloquence. And Phil is Phil, but for the Thunder and for Jackson, the best move is to let the coach who’s built and raised his team to continue doing so rather than entertaining the charade of a mega star coach. The Thunder have shown they do their business with class, and it’s refreshing to know their continuing their ways.