Donovan Wins The News Conference, Now Real Work Begins
By Randy Renner
With Thunder superstar Kevin Durant intently watching and listening, new Thunder head coach Billy Donovan laid out his philosophies and plans for the future of the Thunder. He seemed pretty much as billed, poised, precise and passionate.
Donovan said he was most struck by the Thunder's deep involvement in the Oklahoma City community and Donovan is diving right in, attending a function at the OKC Boys and Girls Club after going through about an hour's worth of interviews at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
He said his family is on board with the move and that he plans to live in OKC full time. His offensive philosophies revolved around ball movement, making the extra pass and making things easier for players to do what they need to do.
As far as immediately getting back to recruiting with Durant's free agency looming, Donovan said he wants to get to know KD as a person and Russell Westbrook too and all the rest of the guys on the roster.
"It's not about me," he said more than once, "it's about the players and what I can do to help them out and make them better."
He knows what he's getting into, that expectations are sky high and he embraces the challenge.
"I'm excited, there is a level of the unknown sure but right now I'm excited about impacting a lot of people in a very positive way. We have to take care of today, there's a process to go through."
Donovan and his family will return to Florida for the weekend and then Donovan said he hopes to be back in Oklahoma City early next week to begin meeting as many players as he can and talking with them in-depth and then making decisions on who will be on his coaching staff, "we will try to hire the best staff we can." He didn't commit to bringing anyone with him from Florida, nor did he commit to keeping anyone currently on staff.
At first glance Billy Donovan seems to be just what the Thunder need. But first impressions from us really don't matter. It's about what happens along the way, getting all the players to buy in, having success during the regular season and the playoffs and making sure Durant and Westbrook are excited and enthused enough to stay in Oklahoma City long-term.
Those answers won't come for a while, but at least for now everyone seems ready to give the new guy every chance and get things rolling toward the future.