What Should the Thunder do Moving Forward?

The Thunder had a surprising season as they finished 5th in the Western conference, but they had their struggles, and they were particularly on offense.

Chris Paul obviously led the way on offense, leading the OKC team, but the Thunder were still 21st in PPG. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was the rising star for the Thunder but he just couldn't get things back to the way they used to be before the bubble. That being said, the bubble was ultimately a good test for the Thunder, as they realized that they have two more solid young players in Darius Bazley and Luguentz Dort.

The main storyline for the Thunder was the releasing of Billy Donovan. Nobody saw it coming, as he was in the top 5 coaches to win COTY and had a great season with the Thunder. With Donovan gone, what do they do now? First off, I would hire a shooting coach, not as a head coach, just a shooting coach on the side. The Thunder have struggled to shoot the ball for several years and they are typically that team that gets to where they are because of their fight, just like this year. I think that the Thunder is full of the right guys and their guys have the mentality that some skilled athletes don't have. What these guys need is knowledge and more skill. I'm not a coach, but I have a coach's saying, you can win games simply by fighting, but you can't win them all without skill. What that means is, a team like the Thunder can fight and win games, but they can only fight for so long before going up against another team that might not even fight as hard as you, but they have more skill. When I say skill, I'm talking about shooting, passing, and finishing, and for the Thunder, mainly shooting.

A main problem with the Thunder is that they only had one solid and consistent shooter in the team, and that was Danilo Gallinari. Everybody knew that, so they would make sure that he didn't get any shots off from three point range. For a league that is currently being structured around the three ball, this made it hard for the rest of the team since almost every player on the team benefits with driving and mid-range scoring.

Teams know how to stop the Thunder. As I just said, players on the Thunder thrive in the mid-range/paint area with the exception of Danilo Gallinari, Dennis Schroeder, and Chris Paul. Chris Paul still isn't an excellent three point shooter (36.5), but he can knock down the shot when he's open enough, and if you watch him play, the majority of threes he takes are very tough shots. If he takes regular contested or non-contested threes, his percentage is higher than 36.5%.

So what type of players should the Thunder go for? It may seem obvious, but players like Duncan Robinson, J.J. Redick, and other shooters are the types of players they need. As far as a coach goes, Mike D'Antoni is probably not a good option for the Thunder. Yes, he is an offensive coach which is what they should look for, but I feel that D'Antoni would completely change up the way the team played, and he might change up the lineups as well. What the Thunder need is a coach who can coach them on how to be better on the offensive end, D'Antoni is already expecting you to be good on the offensive end, and he comes up with the placall to help you succeed, so that is why I don't think D'Antoni is the best option for OKC. Who is the best coach for the Thunder? I would go with Tyronn Lue. Lue is the type of coach that doesn't focus on one side of the ball more than the other. He puts just as much work into his offensive play call as he does his defensive play call. I think Lue could really build up Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and help him become the next big player for the Thunder. I'm sure that Lue still has the plays he called for LeBron James back when he coached him, so he could take those plays and apply them to Gilgeous-Alexander. You might be thinking, well, why not for Chris Paul? Chris Paul still has a couple years left, but as of now, it's not even certain whether he'll be in OKC next year. At 34, you never know what could happen or if he just decides to retire out of the blue. Gilgeous-Alexander is a very promising young star that could lead this team for years to come. Another part of Lue's coaching expertise that he could bring to the Thunder is the plays he used for Kevin Love back in Cleveland. You might not think it, but Danilo Gallinari is very similar to Kevin Love.

The only difference between these two is the physicality. Kevin Love is more of a PF/C where Gallinari is strictly a PF. Love is more physical in the paint and will always get more rebounds as you can see in the stats. However, Gallinari is on the last year of his contract and it is questionable whether he will return to the Thunder or not.

There are many gaps in this Thunder organization, no coach, minimal three point shooters, and a struggling offense. We will have to see how their new coach will handle things.

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