Today in The Herd, Colin argued that Billy Donovan is the best coach in the Western Conference Finals, including Warriors coach, and NBA Coach of the Year, Steve Kerr. Colin thinks Billy Donovan’s 27 year pedigree as a college, and now NBA coach, separates him from the rest of the coaches remaining in the Playoffs.
At 24, Donovan was an assistant at Kentucky under the legendary Rick Pitino. He took his first head coaching job at Marshall University in 1994, leading the Thundering Herd to two winning seasons. In 1996 Donovan moved to the University of Florida, a traditional football school, and built a basketball powerhouse, winning back to back NCAA titles by recruiting a roster full of future NBA lottery picks.
Since taking over at Oklahoma City this year, the Thunder are dramatically improved defensively. They have the best starting five in the league. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant are as efficient as they’ve ever been. Donovan even turned unknown New Zealand hipster Center Steven Adams into a viable third option.
Colin observed that when Billy Donavan started coaching 27 years ago, Steve Kerr was just starting his journeyman NBA career. Cavs’ Head Coach Tyronn Lue was 12 years old and, “Tired of theme parks and roller coasters and just beginning to be attracted to girls.”
Jason Whitlock joined Colin, and agreed that Donovan is not only the best coach in the series, but the best coach left in the Playoffs.
“Steve Kerr is still learning on the job, Billy Donovan, this is what his life has been about since age 23, 24. Coaching, preparing to be the best. He did it at Florida, he’s doing it again at Oklahoma City. This team has experienced more growth and evolution than any team in the NBA. That’s good coaching.”
Colin believes Donovan is only overlooked because of the public’s obsession with the offensively historic Warriors, but Donovan’s coaching could ultimately be the difference in the series.