Oklahoma City Thunder

Dennis Schröder’s Comments About Billy Donovan Confirms Everything We Already Knew

Craig Hofeld


If I was going to break it down and tell you what Billy Donovan’s biggest issue is, I’d say it’s his lack of control over his team. Managing big personalities in the NBA isn’t easy, but it’s even more difficult when you’ve got to manage both Russell Westbrook and Paul George.

You didn’t have to watch too many games this season to realize that Billy Donovan didn’t have much control over this team. We saw Donavan make multiple adjustments, and draw up plenty out of timeout plays, yet it simply didn’t translate to the court. In order to translate your coaching on the court, you’ve got to get your guys to buy in to your scheme. It seems like Billy Donovan hasn’t been able to get Russell Westbrook to buy in at any point of his four years in OKC.

The Thunder held their exit interviews on Thursday afternoon. My biggest takeaway from the day was Dennis Schröder’s comments on Billy Donovan. Schröder was in every way trying to compliment Donovan, but he also showed a major flaw.

Here’s what he had to say:

Billy Donovan has come off as a “passive coach” on multiple occasions. While listening to your players is important, it’s also important to maintain a certain level of respect over your players. Giving a guy Russell Westbrook too much say so can result in several issues. We saw these issues in full display this season whether it was the poor shot selections on offense, or the lack of effort on defense.

If a guy like Dennis Schröder can see how this is a problem, then surely the Thunder’s front office should see it as well. I do not hate the idea of Donovan returning next season, but if he does, major changes have to be made. Schröder confirmed what we already knew, Billy D had no control over his team this season.

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  1. But who would these guys respect enough to listen to? There’s only a handful of coaches like that out there and I don’t see any of them coming to OKC.

  2. I think the idea that the players don’t listen to him at all is a bit much. If he listens to them, then how are they not listening back?

      1. As you’ve said many times before, Matt, winning solves everything. Bad breaks, which the Thunder has undoubtedly had many, cause fans to look for blame where they otherwise would have no issue. I think coaching is part of the issue for sure, but it’s probably not near as big as the flood of overreaction wants to believe.

  3. The problem is…they aren’t winning and currently there doesn’t seem to be much of a plan to change things.

    1. Only so much you can do. They weren’t going to win it all this season anyways. Goal has always been to outlast the Warriors until it’s an even playing field

      1. There’s no way you’ll convince me that getting bounced in the first round is acceptable just because Golden State is going to win it all.

      2. I’m not saying it’s acceptable. Didn’t even deny that it was a disappointing season.

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