Sam Presti said a lot of words at Wednesday night's press conference. A lot of them were very big and some of them were used to answer around a question without actually answering it. Classic Presti.
But one word of the thousands he said stood out from the rest: stimulate.
Presti must have used the word at least a dozen times without prompting—and then many more than that after someone asked him why he was using it so much. While the Thunder general manager didn't come anywhere close to criticizing the ousted Scott Brooks, talking about the need to stimulate the team and individuals left no doubt about what the problem was in Presti's mind.
The Thunder had grown stagnant under Brooks. Changes weren't happening, problems weren't being addressed, energy was lacking. For whatever reason, Brooks wasn't able to push the Thunder to be the best version of themselves they could be.
Perhaps players got too comfortable with the coach they all admittedly liked as a person and friend. Perhaps they began to see his deficiencies as a coach and decided he wasn't worth listening to. No matter what the reason is, change is needed when players no longer respect a guy's coaching ability and can't be inspired by the guy.
Whoever the new coach is in Oklahoma City, it's clear he's going to have to be a guy players will play for and draw inspiration from. Maybe that's Kevin Ollie, or Billy Donovan or Fred Hoiberg. Maybe it's someone no one has mentioned yet. But if Presti feels a candidate can't stimulate this team and this franchise, he won't be the coach.
The onus of playing inspired basketball falls mostly on the players in the NBA. This is their job and you need to have some measure of enthusiasm to perform well at a job. Perhaps the idea of a coach that can generate enthusiasm on the OKC roster is overblown. Perhaps the roster needs a bit of an attitude adjustment that allows them to be more easily inspired. Or maybe not. Maybe Brooks had really lost the team in this regard. One thing's for sure—we'll probably never know.
Presti normally doesn't say much in his press conferences. Oh he says plenty of words, but most of them simply float over everyone's heads. But stimulate is a word that stood out among the many on Wednesday night. It showed where Scott Brooks came up short and a nonnegotiable trait of the next head man.
More Thunder coverage:
- Thunder Fire Scott Brooks
- Presti Needs To Be Cautious In Decision-Making Process
- Thunder Rolling Dice With Coaching Change
- Exploring Thunder Coaching Candidates