The annual NBA All-Star Game takes place on Feb. 16, 2014 in New Orleans. The starting lineups were released a few days ago and the usual controversy followed. Everyone has their opinion of who should start, who should not, who the reserves should be and so on. One thing that does not get much attention is the selection of coaches, because the process is simple; the coach with the most wins at the time gets the nod to lead their respective conference.
The Oklahoma City Thunder leads the Western Conference with a 36-10 record thus far, making way for head coach Scott Brooks to lead the West All-Stars against the Eastern Conference All-Stars. Brooks has coached the game one time prior to this year, and his work resulted in a 152-149 win for this team in 2012. Brooks’ fine-tuned operation in OKC has surprised many people. With his team’s backs against the wall, he always has a secure plan to remain successful. He had the perfect formula for the Thunder when Russell Westbrook went down; get the ball to Durant, but still let your role players get their share of the action without putting restraints on their abilities.
It could be argued that without Brooks the Thunder may be years behind in their development as a team. His youth as a coach plays well into the hands of a plan to lead an even younger group of athletes into battle night in and night out. Brooks himself played 10 seasons in league as journeyman. He played for six different franchises over those 10 years before eventually finding a long-term home in Oklahoma City.
Brooks’ focus is defense; even though his team has constantly managed to finish near the top of the league in scoring, they usually are among the top defensive units as well. While we all know defense is almost non-existent during All-Star Weekend, it is good to know that as a team you have a coach who can put you in position to make stops when you need them the most. I am proud of Brooks and the Thunder for their resiliency this year after being sheltered by doubt that swept across the nation prior to the start of the 2013-14 season.