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Assessing the Oklahoma City Thunder Coaches for 2020-21

| December 10, 2020 1:17 am PDT
Oklahoma City Thunder Coaching Staff for 2020-21

The Oklahoma City Thunder are one of the franchises that appointed a new head coach this summer, and it’s interesting to see what Mark Daigneault will change in the team. His main goal would be to develop the young players and build for the future.

I explore his credentials in this post, as well as the assistants that were appointed to help him bring success to the Thunder.

Mark Daigneault – Young Head Coach for a Young Team

There were plenty of speculations about different names before the Oklahoma City Thunder promoted Mark Daigneault to the head coach. He’s one of the youngest specialists in that role, and it’s the first time he’s given such a responsibility.

Daigneault’s career started in UConn as a student manager, and he was offered the opportunity to move to Holy Cross as an assistant. He impressed there, which resulted in a job with the Florida Gators where he became part of Billy Donovan’s team for the first time.

The head coach brought Daigneault to Oklahoma City, where he led the G-League team and was promoted to his assistant for the 2019-20 season. Once Donovan was fired, the organization spent some time before giving Daigneault the role.

It seems everyone around the OKC Thunder loves the guy and this will be a big opportunity for him. I’m not sure what to expect, and the current roster is not exactly competitive, so we will need time to see if Daigneault has what it takes to be a head coach in the NBA.

His assistants should have a key role too, so let’s take a look at what they can deliver.

Oklahoma City Thunder Assistant Coaches

The departure of Billy Donovan led to plenty of changes in the Oklahoma City Thunder coaching staff. Here are the assistants that should help Mark Daigneault.

Mike Miller

The arrival of Mike Miller was somewhat unnoticed by most fans, but I believe it was an excellent addition. The coach has experience as the Knicks interim, a successful G-League stint, and a long college basketball career. That makes him a great choice for the assistant of a relatively young coach like Daigneault.

Vin Bhavnani

One of the guys that have been with the Thunder for a while and will be helping Daigneault is Vin Bhavnani. He has worked as a video coordinator and scout before rising through the ranks and is very detailed oriented. He can help with the enormous amount of draft picks the Thunder have in the future.

David Akinyooye

Anyone that has worked under Gregg Popovich has learned a lot, and David Akinyooye is no exception. His NBA career started with the Spurs before he spent some time in France with Asvel.

Akinyooye has the reputation of a hard worker that is always trying to expand his basketball knowledge, which is the reason he got a job in the NBA.

Dave Bliss

If Dave Bliss rings a bell, you are probably thinking about the infamous college basketball coach. The OKC Thunder assistant of the same name is a different person, and he’s not related to the disgraced former Baylor head coach.

The younger Bliss has been working as a video coordinator and player development coach for a while. He’s expected to have a huge role in improving Thunder’s young assets.

Brian Keefe

Another interesting member of the coaching staff is Brian Keefe. He started his NBA career as a video coordinator for the Spurs in 2005 and has been part of the NBA ever since. His experience in player development could be crucial for the Thunder’s future.

Mike Wilks

Former player Mike Wilks is the last assistant of Mark Daigneault. He started his career as a Director of College Player Personnel and was promoted to the coaching staff in the 2019-20 NBA season.

The Verdict

I’m not sure what to think about the Oklahoma City Thunder’s coaching staff at this point. The team is taking a big risk in appointing a young head coach who has no previous experience in this role.

I don’t think this group could lead a contending team, but the Thunder are rebuilding, and that’s another story. With so many young players on the roster and future draft picks, the focus should be on developing inexperienced athletes.

That’s where the main strength of the OKC Thunder coaching staff lies, so the organization made a smart choice appointing Daigneault and his assistants.

The 2020-21 NBA season won’t bring many victories, but it could start something special for the years after that.

If you plan on betting on the Thunder games next season, you should be careful. Young teams tend to be inconsistent in their performance. I also recommend you to check our guide to betting on the NBA games for more useful tips.

Jerry Summer
Jerry Summer

Jerry Summer has a wide-ranging interest in gambling and the gambling industry. He's made a living out of both playing poker and betting on sports.

The English Premier League and the NBA are among Jerry's primary areas of expertise. He's knowledgeable about many other sports, too, along with poker and several casino games.

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