With each win the Thunder tacks on to its record, Scott Brooks’ resume for Coach of the Year only becomes stronger.
But the Thunder’s lead man will tell you that’s the last thing on his mind.
"The last individual award I won was MVP of my college team,” Brooks said. "You think I care about individual awards?”
Maybe not, but if the Thunder continues its winning ways, Brooks might have to make room on his mantle for the Red Auerbach Trophy.
The Thunder is now 12 games over .500 after Sunday’s win at Minnesota bumped the team’s record to 33-21. With 28 games remaining, Oklahoma City is already 10 games better than last year’s season-ending total.
"I think he should be in that conversation,” said Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant. "He’s helped us as a group this whole year, and we’ve become better.”
Brooks has a serious shot at snagging the hardware.
Typically, the award has been given not to the coach with the best record, but to the coach who got the most out of his team and became the surprise of the league. Byron Scott won the award in 2007-08 despite three teams finishing with better record than New Orleans’ 56-26 mark. But the Hornets had a 17-game improvement. Sam Mitchell led his Toronto team to a 20-game improvement in 2006-07 to finish 47-35, a record that eight other teams bested that season.
Cleveland’s Mike Brown did win the award last year after leading his team to a league-best 66 wins. But the Cavs also saw a 21-game improvement.
The Thunder is on pace for 50 wins, which would be a 27-game improvement.
"That’s a big, big improvement in just a year,” said the Thunder’s Jeff Green. "And for him to only have a half a season with us last year and do what he’s doing this year is amazing.