Billy Donovan Rumors
“Space! Space!” Donovan yelled to the other Thunder players on the floor around Westbrook. Donovan is planning a specific package of personnel to complement Westbrook when he operates as a deeper scoring threat alongside point guard D.J. Augustin. There figures to be another package to help Durant when he bumps up to play power forward.
“The one thing that makes this place really, really special, in my opinion, is the people,” Donovan said. “That’s the one thing I would say now. They’re very, very competent in their job[s], and they’re really, really, really great people—people you enjoy going in and seeing every day. “That’s very, very important. It was important to me with the relationships I was leaving in Florida.”
The connection that Donovan made with Presti wasn’t rooted simply in Xs and Os and analytics, although they were prominent. There also was a personal connection, and a belief that Donovan has demonstrated an uncanny ability to adapt as a coach. At Florida, Donovan won back-to-back NCAA titles with a roster that included three lottery picks (Al Horford, Joakim Noah and Corey Brewer). In 2014, he led the Gators to the Final Four without a single NBA player on the roster. He’s maintained as a strong a connection with Mike Miller (who he last coached 15 years ago) as he has with Bradley Beal (2012). “His players swear by him,” a coaching source said.
The main theme from the two players we heard from today — D.J. Augustin and Anthony Morrow — was how “organized” and “efficient” the coaching staff is with the available time right now. “It’s different, it’s very different, but it’s very effective,” Morrow said. “It’s efficient on both ends, to come in with guys that are focused on getting better every day and a coaching staff that’s as precise as they, I think it’s really good for us.”
“What are your thoughts and impressions on Billy Donovan so far?” This question was asked to each Thunder player that sat before the media, and every answer reflected the last. “He’s great.” “He has amazing energy.” “He’s exactly what we need.” Anthony Morrow even went as far as calling him a “basketball genius.” Of course, nobody would expect the players to say anything bad about their new head coach, but all of their answers seemed very genuine. It seems like Donovan has already made an impact on, or a connection with, most of the guys on this roster.