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Thunder makes 5 changes in coaching staff

Thunder

The Oklahoma City Thunder have recalibrated their coaching staff by making five changes.

Per Royce Young of ESPN, the Thunder have updated their coaching staff with several promotions and additionals which includes David Akinyooye, Mark Daigneault, Dave Bliss, Mike Wilks, and Brian Keefe. They will be joining head coach Billy Donovan as well as assistants Maurice Cheeks and Vin Bhavnani.

Per nba.com, Donovan — who’s been the Thunder’s head coach since 2015 — welcomed the new members of his coaching staff.

“Each of our coaches on this year’s staff has a unique perspective on Thunder basketball that we believe will be a great benefit to our players,” said Donovan. “We are thrilled to welcome Brian Keefe back to the program, and seeing Dave, Mark, David and Mike all rise through our ranks to these positions on our staff is a testament to their hard work and dedication. With Mo, Vin and Billy Schmidt also back for next season, I couldn’t be more excited to get to work with this group.”

The upcoming 2019-2020 season will be a very critical year for the franchise. When they let go of Paul George then Russell Westbrook via trade, it was clear to everyone that the Thunder were about to head into rebuilding mode. Since the franchise moved to Oklahoma in 2008, they’ve only missed the playoffs twice — a remarkable feat for a small-market team. And as they embark on their biggest season yet, they will heavily rely on the coaching staff to keep the franchise’s head above water.