Don’t Blame Kevin Durant For the Thunder’s Playoff Exit, Blame Scott Brooks

Kevin Durant & Russell Westbrook

Kevin Durant & Russell Westbrook (photo. Rob Hammer)

Whenever something in sports doesn’t go according to plan, we as fans are quick to place blame. The easy way to explain why the Oklahoma City Thunder couldn’t get back to the Western Conference Finals, much less the NBA Finals, would be to blame Kevin Durant for not being able to carry his team to the next round. Let’s take a deeper look before placing blame.

What became of the Thunder the second Russell Westbrook‘s meniscus tore falls on many parts of the organization.

I think that Scott Brooks was exposed in the series with the Memphis Grizzlies, even more so than he was in last year’s NBA Finals. He made absolutely zero adjustments once Russell Westbrook went down, showing us he never even thought about about a contingency plan in case one of his stars got injured. His offense essentially became Kevin Durant isolations, which was likely not going to win the Memphis series, no matter ho well KD played.

Essentially it was breaking away from their usual offense and becoming a “Kevin, create whatever you can for us offensively, take a tough shot, drive and kick, quick three, whatever you’re feeling” offense. Brooks did nothing to put Kevin Martin, Serge Ibaka or Reggie Jackson in any position to succeed, individually, or as a unit.

I was of the belief that after last year’s NBA Finals, whether the Thunder organization knew it at the time or not, that Scott Brooks was on his way out. The way he was overmatched by a coach we previously thought of as inferior in Erik Spoelstra stood out like Dwyane Wade‘s capri pants.

After last season, OKC GM Sam Presti couldn’t fire a coach that took his team to the NBA Finals. This season Brooks has the excuse that Westbrook was hurt. It won’t be long down the road, however, until Sam Presti will exercise his options. There’s no way he doesn’t; Sam’s just too smart to not see the misfires.

A couple of weeks ago, right after Westbrook went down, I wrote about how Russell’s absence exposed the James Harden trade in a whole new light.

In the column, I talked about how behind closed doors, I’m willing to bet that the people in OKC’s camp who were involved in pulling the trigger on the deal would admit that they didn’t know James Harden would be this good.

Around The Web


‘We Went To The Moon In 1969’: How The ‘Even Stevens’ Musical Episode Changed The Disney Channel Forever

By: 05.02.16

M.T. Anderson Correctly Predicted Your ‘Feed’ Back In 2002, Are You Ready To Hear What He Says Is Coming Next?

Kenya’s Massive Ivory Burn Should Light A Fire Under Us All

Returning To The Boston Marathon Offered A Lesson In Facing Fears

Is There More To The Adam Walsh Story?

Stand-Up Comedy Scared The Hell Out Of Me, So I Decided To Give It A Shot

W. Kamau Bell On Joking With The KKK For CNN And Quoting Malcolm X In His New Special

Drifters Take Note: This Couple Has Crucial Advice For Long-Term Travelers

‘Rad’ Star Bill Allen Looks Back On Helltrack And That Iconic BMX Prom Scene, 30 Years Later

Meet Christine Sun Kim — The Sound Artist Who’s Changing The Way We Listen

Presented By
The All-New Prius

Steve-O Talks About Stand-Up, Longing For Attention, And The Voices In His Head

‘Veep’ Creator Armando Iannucci And Timothy Simons Explain Why It’s So Much Fun To Hate Jonah Ryan