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.
The Thunder's .712 winning percentage was good for fourth highest in franchise history and was the best clip since the 1997-98 Sonics. Brooks also displayed growth with Xs and Os, becoming a better play-caller in late-game situations, out of timeouts and on out-of-bound plays. The half-court offense began to produce productive sets as well, as Brooks got better at putting more players — namely James Harden — in better positions to succeed.
“You have to get better,” Brooks said. “You can't stay in this position and not keep improving … and our players are the same way. We have to all get better, and we've done that together for the last four years.”
The offense, while highly efficient last year, still was prone to periods of chaos, and a more structured system could alleviate some of the scoring issues we witnessed too often last season. But it'll be up to Brooks to find the right balance so that one of the league's most dynamic offensive teams doesn't get strangled by a suffocating system. Brooks' substitution patterns also remained questionable in 2011-12, and how flexible he is with his rotation could again be a determining factor in how far the team makes it next year.
But, all in all, Brooks has grown nicely alongside his talented young core. It's been a strong recipe for success to this point, and with continued improvement the Thunder's future looks awfully bright.
Who can wait to see what happens next?
“I have a great opportunity ahead of me,” Brooks said, “and I'm not going to just rest because we had some success this past season.”