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Kevin Durant Seems Pleased With the Coaching Switch in Oklahoma City

Nov 23, 2008 – 3:15 PM
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Tom Ziller

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Most players appear diplomatic when a coach gets fired midseason, sure to share hope for tomorrow while careful of stomping on the grave of the unemployed. As Kevin Durant is even-handed/spirited at all times, his comments on the sacking of P.J. Carlesimo and simultaneous promotion of Scott Brooks are not surprising.
"Not taking anything away from P.J., he wanted the best out of us," said Durant. "But Scott did a great job of giving us a little bit of room for error. Once we messed up he just told us what we needed to do better and told us that play was over. I think that kind of made us feel a little better. We just got to continue to build on it."
Honest, measured and expected, just as you'd prefer from a potenital-ridden buck like Durant. There's also another factor I hadn't considered Saturday: with Carlesimo, so-called offensive coordinator Paul Westhead, the guru of go, was sacked. Westhead had implemented a fast offense as Carlesimo's top deputy, one which never resembled anything beautiful because of the vast oceans of inefficiency on the roster.

Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus suggested Brooks would slow things down. (Pelton has since written a lot more on Brooks' background and goals.) The early returns suggest that's right: under Carlesimo on Friday against New Orleans, the Thunder had roughly 99 possessions (despite N.O. playing a slow brand of basketball). Under Brooks on Saturday, the pace was down to 86. It will take time to figure just how much Brooks will slow down the Thunder's attack, but a reverse Tony Barone wouldn't be a shock. (Barone took over for Mike Fratello early in 2006-07. The league's slowest team became one of the fastest overnight. Memphis still sucked, of course. But they sucked quickly.)
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