Thunder news: For the first time in 10 years, we might not see the Oklahoma City Thunder are in rebuild mode. They lost both of their All-Stars from last season, Russell Westbrook and Paul George to trades, and while they are left with a ton of assets to shape up their future, this isn’t exactly how they pictured themselves a couple of years ago.
Now, head coach Billy Donovan is facing the tall task of making the Thunder a competitive team despite this upcoming season despite not having a bonafide superstar on the roster. On paper, OKC has a set of decent vets like Chris Paul, Danilo Gallinari, and Steven Adams, as well as a young prospect in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
However, a lot of people aren’t convinced that the Thunder will win a lot of games in their 2019-20 campaign, and for Donovan, a coach that is used to being in the playoffs, the prospect of missing it could be discouraging.
Or maybe not.
The Athletic’s Brett Dawson had a chance to talk to some of Donovan’t former colleagues in the NCAA, and they believe that he won’t be demotivated with the team’s current situation.
Tennessee Tech head coach John Pelphrey said that it isn’t in Donovan’s nature to be fazed by adversities.
“Some people may look at the thing and say, ‘Wow, Billy, what have you gotten yourself into?’” I don’t see him, quite honestly, being discouraged at all.”
Moreover, Georgia Southern coach Rob Lanier said that Donovan will not be pressured to meet anyone’s expectations.
“He won’t be motivated to prove people wrong. That’s not how he’s wired. His motivation is truly internal. This is a challenge, and he’s gonna judge himself on whether or not he meets the challenge.”
Both Pelphrey and Lanier worked as assistants to Donovan during his time with as the head coach of the University of Florida. So they probably have an idea of what adjustments he’ll make in order to make OKC a better team than what most people perceive them to be.
Since 2012, the Thunder have lost James Harden, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, and now, George and Westbrook either via trade or free agency, and that is a huge blow in what they’re trying to build all these years.
But at this point, all they can do is make good use of what they have, and it will start by competing for a playoff spot next season. After that, rebuild through the draft and see what happens from there. It is a long, grueling process, but the team has already proven that it can form a championship contender by going this route in the past.
And with a treasure chest of assets, don’t be surprised if they do it again.
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