The Oklahoma City Thunder were one of the few title favorites at the beginning of the year and, for the most part, they have looked the part for this season. Oklahoma City has been a popular Finals pick for the past few seasons, so this should come as no surprise.
But now they are in serious danger of being knocked out by the Memphis Grizzlies, and fingers are being pointed squarely at head coach Scott Brooks.
Brooks has two of the best players in the game on his roster. The Thunder are clearly in “win now” mode, but what happens if they are defeated in the first round? If Brooks reaches the Finals and loses, there is a good chance he will be back. However, if the Thunder are bounced in the second round or the Western Conference Finals, will Oklahoma City’s front office continue to exhibit the remarkable patience that they have shown Brooks the past few years?
Look, Brooks’ job comes with high expectations, but only because of the elite talent around him. If Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka are on your roster, you need to be winning games in April, May and June. When the wins don’t come, fans will look for someone to blame. Brooks, deservedly, will become a scapegoat if things don’t work out.
There are strong replacement options available like Kevin Ollie, so Oklahoma City needs to decide whether Brooks is the guy who will eventually get them to the promised land. Right now, however, it looks like the Thunder are going nowhere fast, much to the dismay of Brooks and the Thunder organization.