“I was incredibly proud of how the team performed,” Presti said of how the Thunder battled injuries. “And I really think that speaks to the coaching staff’s job of utilizing the different options on the team, the development work that’s taking place and the versatility of the guys that are in place. I think being able to survive those circumstances are what high-performance teams are able to do; being able to deal with unforeseen and expect the expectations to remain consistent, which is what we’ve done.”
The Thunder also has a history of standing by its people rather than making rash decisions. It’s one of the reasons Brooks was rewarded back in 2012 with a deal that was reported to be valued in the neighborhood of $16 million over four years. It’s also why Brooks was widely assumed to be safe — in addition to the two public endorsements Brooks received Sunday from his two star players, Westbrook and Kevin Durant.
Of course, Brooks still has plenty of room to improve. His rotations, overall game management and offensive system continue to raise questions. And as the Thunder’s season labored on this year, it started to become unclear whether Brooks has the ability or the temperament to hold his players accountable and demand from them more defensive consistency and smarter offensive decisions.
“Scott, like every single person in this organization, and I think he said this himself, is going to take a look at the ways that he can move the needle and grow incrementally,” Presti said. “That’s the platform that we’re on at this point, is stacking successful seasons on top of each other; increasing our odds to take a really unique amount of time that we’ve been successful and extend that into a very, very unique amount of time.
“And in order to do that, you have to look at yourself critically every year and that starts with me. That starts with everyone in the program, and I think Scott will do the same and come back a little bit better.”