The Oklahoma City Thunder have been knocked out of the playoffs once again, and now, most of the blame is on the coach: Scott Brooks. Brooks is a one time winner of the Coach of the Year, and has led the Thunder to an NBA Finals Appearance and 3 Western Conference Finals appearances.
He has continually led his team far into the playoffs, and won many games. However, late in the post-season and especially late in games, at times, it seems like the Thunder don't have a plan. When Durant was on a roll in the regular season, it was easy, give the ball to Durant and get out of the way.
However, in the playoffs, everything changes. One player cannot lead a team to a Championship, or even more, a starting line up cannot lead a team to a Championship. To win a Championship, a team needs 7, 8, 9, or sometimes 10 players to have an impact in a game. On Saturday, we saw the Thunder's fantastic four of Durant, Ibaka, Westbrook, and Reggie score a combined 102 points! However, only one other player scored for the Thunder (Derek Fisher with 5 points). Then when the Thunder went into OT, the more fresh Spurs took over the game and advanced to the Finals. The Thunder didn't seem to have a plan, and the Thunder players were worn out while the role players were frozen from rarely shooting.
The Spurs are masterminds of sharing the ball, having ball movement, and involving role players in games. They use this style of offense to find open looks, and keep older players fresh. The Spurs had 10 players on Saturday score, compared to the Thunder's 5, and then in OT, had two players score. All of this offense and rest comes from a mastermind in the name of Gregg Popovich.
Another team, by the name of the Miami Heat, are great at playing together as everyone has their own role. Lebron, Wade, Bosh do not choose to play one on one the entire game, and keep the ball moving. The Heat then get wide open looks with either the big three or role players. The Heat move the ball with great leadership from stars, but also with an offensive genius with Erik Spolestra.
The Thunder, on the other hand, seemed to be playing one on one the entire game seven. Westbrook and Durant are very athletic and still seem to find relatively good looks, but at a point, players become tired, or the defense tightens up. From there, the Thunder seem to struggle to find open looks. Playing an occasional one on one is great with athletic players, but it can never win an entire game, especially an entire season.
For example, when I look at the stats, I see that the Thunder's Durant and Westbrook almost average the same amount of FGA per game as the Heat's entire big three.
At a point, the Thunder need to realize they need better offensive schemes. Against great defensive (Grizzlies) or schematic teams (Spurs), their athleticism can be put to no use. Whether this means a new coach, or Scott Brooks thinking over his plan, the Thunder need a change on offense - Not with the players, but with the coach.