Coach Billy Donovan Plans To Return To Oklahoma City Next Season
Now that the Thunder have ended their season in dramatic fashion at the hands of Damian Lilard and the Portland Trail Blazers, the first thing on their priority list has to be their off-season moves.
Donovan Set To Rejoin OKC Thunder
Billy Donovan came out and said he expects to return next season and called the meeting with the general manager “business as usual.” OKC had high hopes all year, with Paul George having the best season of his career and Russell Westbrook averaging a triple double once again. Thus, many fans thought this could be the year we see OKC go far in the playoffs. So what went wrong?
Many people speculate Westbrook may be the issue, he might need to be traded or become the second option on offense. Some think a new coach is the change OKC needs, a fresh face handling the team. Donovan quickly came out to put these rumors to rest as he looks forward to returning to the team. The coach said he has been impressed with what they were able to accomplish this season and that he looks forward to the next.
Donovan has been coaching college basketball for over 25 years, his last coaching job having been with the Florida Gators. This was Donovan’s first NBA-level coaching job and he wasn’t going to disappoint. Donovan was able to help lead OKC to a 55-27 record in his first season with the team. Many credited Donavan with the success they had that year.
After 2016, Kevin Durant decided to leave OKC for the Golden State Warriors and since then, the Thunder have not had that same level of success. This prompted many to feel that Donovan wasn’t the reason they were successful because of the combo that Durant and Westbrook formed at its peak.
The Thunder have still managed to make the postseason in many recent years, but have been eliminated in the first round of each series. After Durant’s departure, many fans felt that OKC was missing that additional star needed to advance. They got George in a trade and after the best season of his career while he was in the MVP discussion, and OKC were still eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.
The Thunder have now gone three straight postseasons without making it out of the first round. @PaulPierce34 thinks OKC needs to get rid of Billy Donovan, while @DarthAmin says GM Sam Presti and Russell Westbrook are more to blame. pic.twitter.com/872TLKueEq
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) April 25, 2019
There’s been a lot of speculation about what moves need to be made in OKC if they want to be a real contender. For now, no real answer remains regarding what direction OKC will try to pursue in the future. One thing for sure through is that something has to change.
In today’s end of the season interview, Coach Donovan had this to say:
🎤 End of season interviews today.
Billy Donovan on the season.
“We did some good things & now have to look & determine where we can improve…you go through these disappointments & go through struggles, I think you find out more about what you have to do to get better.” pic.twitter.com/hs0nBBv8Y9
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) April 25, 2019