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Thunder's Scott Brooks named NBA Coach of the Year

By Mike Baldwin, Staff Writer, Published: April 22, 2010

221; Presti said. "We’ve worked hard. Scott and his staff have worked hard. The players have worked hard. But we’re far away from being considered in that kind of company,”

Toronto (Sam Mitchell), New Orleans (Byron Scott) and Memphis (Hubie Brown) are examples of teams that had a Coach of the Year who struggled to maintain success.

"It’s a matter of persistence,” Presti said. "It’s not always going to be easy. It’s not always going to be good things that grow an organization. There are going to be adversities that take place. There’s a lot of fragility in this business.”

Brooks was promoted to interim coach 13 games into last season after P.J. Carlesimo was fired following a 1-12 start. After OKC finished 20-30 over its final 50 games, Brooks was given a two-year deal, estimated at slightly more than $1.5 million a season.

Since Brooks has only one year left on his contract, will he be given an extension and a raise? Presti called it an internal matter.

As for the long-term picture, in the past 15 years only two coaches — Gregg Popovich in San Antonio and Pat Riley in Miami — coached four or more full seasons with the same team after winning the award. Can Brooks join that small list, meaning he and the Thunder have sustained success?

"We’re trying to build a foundation to where we can one day be looked at (as a consistent winner),” Presti said. "It’s not going to happen by talking about it. We’re going to have to be consistent and control the things we can control, which is our work (ethic) and our principles.”

The Thunder posted 50 wins, one of the best turnarounds in league history after a 23-59 finish last season, helped Brooks receive 71 of the 123 first-place votes for Coach of the Year.

Brooks thanked dozens of people, including his mother, Presti, his staff, former coaches he’s been associated with and coaches around the league. He said his players deserve most of the credit.

"I’m honored,” Brooks said. "We made a lot of improvement this year... This singles me out as the coach. But I truly believe this is the Oklahoma City Thunder award.”