Dean's List: Tuesday, 9 June 2015
Count me as one who has always felt Mo Cheeks was a strong asset for the Thunder which leaves me thinking Billy Donovan's approach to his two most important coaching hires is on target.
Yahoo is reporting the Thunder are giving increasing consideration to bringing back to the staff in OKC.
Cheeks has three assets that merit serious reflection from Donovan and the organization: a strong relationship with Russell Westbrook, four years assisting Scott Brooks in OKC from 2009-2013 and thrice being an NBA head coach -- Portland, Philly and most recently Detroit.
The fact that Cheeks and expected lead assistant Monty Williams are NBA lifers could be significant in helping Donovan in his NBA transition. Their personalities and approaches to the game are consistent with the Thunder way and fit the superstar-led roster of the team.
It sounds like the Cheeks hiring could hinge on what James Borrego decides in Orlando. The former interim head coach of the Magic has drawn interest from OKC and New Orleans in addition to his standing offer to remain in Orlando and work for new head coach Scott Skiles. Borrego's decision is reportedly expected later this week.
Donovan's former Florida assistant Anthony Grant is expected to join the Thunder as the No. 3 assistant. Other assistants reportedly on the Donovan radar are former Thunder assistant Brian Keif—now with Derek with the Knicks, Chicago's Andy Greer and Portland's Nate Tibbetts. I'm sure they're all swell fellows and fine coaches.
But give me Williams, Cheeks and Grant – along with the others retained by Donovan (especially
KD helper Adam Harrington), and I say check that offseason task off the list and time to move on to the next challenge.