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Oklahoma City Thunder: Despite team's success, coach Scott Brooks still flying under the radar

Brooks on Sunday night will coach the Western Conference All-Stars for the second time in three years. But despite the Thunder's NBA-best 43-12 record, and all of the team's success under his guidance over the past 4 1/2 seasons, Brooks strangely still doesn't seem to get credit as an elite coach.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: February 15, 2014
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photo - Oklahoma City head coach Scott Brooks gives instructions to his team during an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Feb. 3, 2014. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City head coach Scott Brooks gives instructions to his team during an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Feb. 3, 2014. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

— Two years ago, someone asked TNT analyst Kenny Smith a question about the Thunder.

“What's the interim coach's name from Oklahoma City?”

“They still thought he was the interim coach,” Smith marveled.

Scott Brooks was the coach of an NBA Finalist but still flying under the radar.

Two years later, it seems not much has changed.

Brooks on Sunday night will coach the Western Conference All-Stars for the second time in three years. But despite the Thunder's NBA-best 43-12 record, and all of the team's success under his guidance over the past 4 1/2 seasons, Brooks strangely still doesn't seem to get credit as an elite coach.

It's a reality that TNT analyst Charles Barkley pointed out on a national conference call leading into this year's All-Star festivities.

“Scott Brooks is the most underrated coach in the NBA right now,” Barkley said. “They've won every single year and they keep getting better. I think they would have been in the Finals last year if (Russell) Westbrook had not gotten hurt. And missing Westbrook this year, they still have the best record in the NBA.

“He's like (former Los Angeles Lakers head coach) Pat Riley, who never got credit for being a great coach. People say, ‘Well, he has great players.' (Miami head coach) Erik Spoelstra gets credit and he has three great players. Oklahoma City is quickly becoming the best organization in the NBA. He is the one consistent force with that group. It bothers me that he doesn't get enough credit.”

Brooks said it doesn't bother him.

“It's not something that I wake up and search,” Brooks said. “I've had my day in the sun. It was nice … So I don't look for the attention. I don't need it. I really love what I do and I love who I'm coaching.”

The Thunder is on pace to win 64 games, a mark that would increase the team's winning percentage for the sixth straight season. And the team has done it despite missing Westbrook being out for 30 games while recovering from a third surgery.

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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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