P.J. Carlesimo's Coaching Career Ends, While Scott Brooks' is Just Beginning
The Sonics/Thunder weren't just rebuilding when Carlesimo took the job; the team was completely cratering. In that sense, 21 wins and 74 losses isn't terribly surprising, and the 22% winning percentage shouldn't be completely hung around P.J.'s neck. But it will be. He's never getting an interview for a head job again.
Meanwhile, Scott Brooks takes over the team in the interim. Brooks has been an assistant under George Karl, Eric Musselman and Carlesimo. He nearly had the Kings head job twice -- once as the team considered firing Musselman midway through 2006-07 (Geoff Petrie had permission to make the move, but waited to fire Muss until the end of the season) and later when Brooks was one of the four finalists for the job which eventually went to Reggie Theus.
Reports out of that season in Sacramento said Brooks (the lead assistant) and Musselman didn't speak for months during the season due to some personality conflicts. No one in Sactown blames Brooks, if you catch my wink.
This is all to say that this is a long time coming for Brooks, and he deserves it. To be sincere, Carlesimo deserved another chance, too. And while he may emphasize how challenging this situation was, and how the record isn't a fair marker of his coaching acumen, Brooks stands a great chance to prove that theorem wrong by at least making the Thunder respectable. Step one? Don't fall behind by 30 points tonight in New Orleans. (The Thunder have been down by at least 30 points in five of its past nine games.)