The Thunder Are Transitioning Into A New Era Thanks To This Small-Ball Secret

12.18.15 3 years ago 2 Comments
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After his team played what Kevin Durant described as “beautiful” basketball in a 125-88 rout of the Memphis Grizzlies earlier this month, Billy Donovan couldn’t help but preach process.

“A lot of these things we talk about sometimes are very fleeting,” the Oklahoma City Thunder’s rookie coach told ESPN. “You’ve got to be able to have a strong conviction and commitment, and you’ve got to be intentional about it. Because if you’re not intentional about it, you lose it very quickly. So, you’ve got to go into games intentional about moving the ball, sharing the ball, doing those kind of things.”

Donovan wasn’t just singing praises of the Thunder’s play against the Grizzlies, of course, but also reminding Durant and company what it will take for them to win a title – this season and beyond. An obvious lack of movement and creativity is what prompted Sam Presti to replace Scott Brooks with the former University of Florida coach this summer, and after nearly two months of play it’s clear that Oklahoma City is still adjusting to the offensive ethos Donovan is striving to implement.

That’s not surprising. Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Serge Ibaka developed into stars under years of tutelage from Brooks, and it’s not like their natural inclination is to probe defenses with pointed passing before launching a shot, either. The Thunder were never going to morph into the Golden State Warriors or San Antonio Spurs overnight; this is a process that will take more than one season.

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