OKC Thunder: Scott Brooks will grow with his team
Young Thunder team complemented by a young coach — and all expect to get better with time.
He owns a .582 winning percentage, a Coach of the Year award and has captained his team to the NBA Finals.
Yet Scott Brooks will be the first to tell you he needs to improve.
“My job is to get better,” the Oklahoma City Thunder coach said shortly after signing a four-year contract extension last month. “I'm not going to stand up here and say that I'm great. I feel like I have a lot of room to improve.”
At this point, the continued improvement of the defending Western Conference champions is largely dependent on Brooks' progression.
For the Thunder, in-house development always has trumped blockbuster trades and mega free-agent signings. This offseason has been no different.
Over the past two months, OKC has substituted veterans Derek Fisher, Nazr Mohammed and Royal Ivey with Perry Jones III, Hasheem Thabeet and Hollis Thompson. All of the newcomers are younger, cheaper players who don't figure to be in next year's rotation.
That puts the pressure of next season squarely on the returning players — and the man in charge of leading them.
For his part, Brooks says he's committed to using this summer to become a better coach.
“I think you get better by a few areas,” Brooks said. “You have to continue to watch film and develop your game that way and also be critical on what you've done in the past and try to improve on it. Also, talk to coaches. I love spending time with coaches, whether it's high school coaches, junior college coaches or college coaches, or other NBA coaches. I think that when you're around (other coaches) you spark things and you brainstorm and you can improve.”
Thus far, on-the job training has benefited Brooks most. In his third full season last year, Brooks enjoyed his best season on the bench. His improvement showed both on the court and in the win column.