Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin is the favorite for the OKC Thunder job. Photo from @theScoreNBA (Twitter)
- The OKC Thunder and Billy Donovan mutually agreed to part ways after five years as the head coach
- Former Brooklyn Nets coach Kenny Atkinson and Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin are favorites to get the job in Oklahoma City
- See the full odds board and our best betting advice within the story below
Although the Oklahoma City Thunder enjoyed a solid year, the organization and head coach Billy Donovan have decided to part ways. Nevertheless, he led OKC to the postseason in all five seasons in charge and was also a finalist for NBA Coach of the Year this season after they pushed the Houston Rockets to seven games.
During his tenure with the Thunder, Donovan went 243-157.
As OKC head into a rebuild, there are certain names who have popped up as possible candidates for the head coaching job. Toronto Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin is currently leading the way at odds of +300, followed by Kenny Atkinson, who was fired by the Brooklyn Nets this past season.
Odds to Be Oklahoma City Thunder Head Coach for 2020-21 NBA Season
Odds taken September 9th
Will Griffin Get His Chance?
After playing in the NBA for twelve seasons, Griffin instantly transitioned into coaching in 2008, serving as the assistant for the Bucks for two seasons. Up to this point, he’s only been an assistant coach, but the 46-year old has been doing so for twelve years, just as long as his playing career.
Along the way, he’s been on the staffs of the Orlando Magic, Chicago Bulls, Thunder, and now is coming off a championship as lead assistant with the Raptors.
Griffin already has ties with the Thunder organization and he’s clearly paid his dues. A head coaching job is definitely in the cards for him sooner rather than later. As of right now, he’s the favorite to land the position with OKC and help lead this organization into a rebuild, led by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
Despite his lack of experience as a head coach, Griffin brings a wealth of experience to the table.
Atkinson Also Favored
Despite getting fired by the Nets, Atkinson did a solid job with a team that was missing both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving for a majority of the year.
Led by Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert, who Atkinson helped develop, Brooklyn secured the eight seed in the Eastern Conference. It’s unknown what exactly led to the organization letting him go, but nonetheless, he is still a decent coach.
Atkinson runs his teams to heavily shoot the three, as Brooklyn sat 9th in the NBA in attempts per game from downtown. The Thunder barely took shots from long range and it’s definitely an area that could improve.
Atkinson has proved that he knows how to get the most out of his players. They’ve fully gone through a rebuild in Brooklyn and he was at the forefront the entire time. Likely, that’s exactly what’s going to happen in Oklahoma City as well. They’ll draft some new talent and wait for these players to develop. Atkinson could be the perfect man for the job.
Does McMillan Have a Shot?
Nate McMillan spent seven seasons in Indiana, with the last four coming as the head coach. He was fired after the Pacers were swept by Miami in the first round of the NBA playoffs. They failed to advance past the first round in all four seasons under McMillan.
They finished in the top ten in defense in each of the last two seasons. However, his offense is one that likes to generate a lot of their scoring within the perimeter. They don’t shoot a lot of three’s, so if OKC is wanting a coach who can bring in this philosophy, McMillan may not be their guy.
The one category where a lot of young players struggle when they come into the association is defense. He could be the type of coach who can get the most out of his youngsters on both ends of the court if OKC decided to give McMillan a shot.
I personally think it will come down to one of these three coaches who will land the job in OKC. Adrian Griffin will get his opportunity in the near future, but I think Kenny Atkinson is the best bet as of right now. A coach who is familiar with going through a rebuild seems like a logical candidate for this job.
Pick: Kenny Atkinson +400
Quinn Allen is a sports journalist, with a background and education in broadcast journalism (BCIT ’17). He writes about European Football, Basketball, and Baseball for numerous sites across the globe.