19 October 2020

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Possible Candidates for the Thunder Head Coach Position

Cover Image Credits: Michael Reaves / Getty Images

The Thunder recently fired their former head coach, Billy Donovan, and will look to find a new head coach sometime in the near future. Many names will likely be looked at for the head coaching position, but here are a few possible names.

Kenny Atkinson

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Atkinson is a name that has been in discussions for the open head coaching positions across the NBA. Atkinson has had success in the NBA before with the Nets. Atkinson helped lead the Nets this season to a playoff spot before being unexpectedly fired. Atkinson is also familiar with change and would help smoothen the transition into a rebuild. Most importantly, Atkinson is very good at developing players. Atkinson most notably turned Spencer Dinwiddie into an all-star after being a journeyman for the beginning of his career. Atkinson will use his development skills to shape the future of Oklahoma City in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Darius Bazley, and Luguentz Dort if hired as head coach.

Brad Penner / USA TODAY Sports

Nate McMillan

The Thunder have been always criticized for not being able to shoot the ball well and if they want to change that, McMillan would not be the choice. However, if the Thunder would like to continue their current play style, McMillan would be their guy. McMillan is known for having his teams shoot less threes and prioritize’s defense. Most Notably, McMillan, after Oladipo went down, found success with turning T.J. Warren into a much better defender. If McMillan can duplicate this success by helping Darius Bazley and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander use their frames to their advantage on the defensive end., the Thunder would be much more successful in the future.

Tim Fuller / USA TODAY Sports

Jacque Vaughn

Although Vaughn’s coaching stunt with the Magic during two-and-a-half seasons was concerning, Vaughn could be an interesting surprise pick for the Thunder coaching job. After going .269 with the Magic and getting fired, the Nets hired Vaughn to finish up the season for Brooklyn in Orlando. Vaughn had success in Orlando with the Nets considering the roster he had at his disposal. The Nets were missing all of their stars and other key players and still managed to lead the team to 5-3 in the seeding games. The short stretch that Vaughn had in Orlando with the Nets showed that Vaughn’s struggles with the Magic were not completely his fault and likely due to the horrible roster that was put together by the Magic. Vaughn is a much riskier choice for the Thunder, but if the Thunder can not secure the candidate of their choice, Vaughn could be an interesting coach for the Thunder to hire.

Seth Wenig / Associated Press

Other names will likely come up for the Thunder head coach position including: Brett Brown, Mo Cheeks, Adrian Griffin, and others, but it is only up to time to tell who the Thunder will hire as their new head coach for a likely rebuild.

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