Thunder: Brooks’ longevity in upper third
Pat Riley says Erik Spoelstra will return as the Miami Heat coach, and even though Spoelstra looks 28 years old and seems like he’s been on the job only since LeBron James took his talents to South Beach, Spoelstra is becoming an elder statesman.
Only five NBA coaches have been on the job longer than Spoelstra’s three full seasons. And the Thunder’s Scotty Brooks is only 13 games behind Spoelstra on the longevity list.
Here are the five longest-tenured NBA coaches: San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich (141/2 seasons), Boston’s Doc Rivers (seven), Denver’s George Karl (61/2), Portland’s Nate McMillan (six) and Orlando’s Stan Van Gundy (four).
Four coaches were hired in the 2008 off-season and remain employed, which gives them three full seasons: Spoelstra, Dallas’ Rick Carlisle, Milwaukee’s Scott Skiles and New York’s Mike D’Antonio. Brooks was hired in November 2008, after the Thunder’s 1-12 start.
It’s a tough profession. This past season alone ended the coaching stints of Phil Jackson with the Lakers, Rick Adelman with the Rockets, Larry Brown with the Bobcats and Jerry Sloan with the Jazz. Pro basketball grinds out and grinds down even the best of coaches.
So far, Brooks has remained quite fresh. His team has improved every year since he got the job. The Thunder has avoided major chemistry issues. The future is bright. Brooks looks like a Thunder long-timer. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Brooks near the top of the list in a couple of years.
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