Suns should roll with Thunder's plan
MAY 14, 2013 6:04p ET
Yeah, while OKC’s coaches and players are still trying to figure out how to play without Russell Westbrook, it should be noted the Thunder model seems similar to what the Suns and new general manager Ryan McDonough are trying to establish.
The Thunder assistant coach who would fit that blueprint is Rex Kalamian, who – in addition to being highly regarded as a bench coach – has considerable experience developing players.
As an interested witness to the skill-development approach of every team that visits US Airways Arena, I’ve been most impressed by OKC’s system.
Combining workouts that translate to real basketball situations – along with physical-performance maneuvers – the Thunder continue to help their young players get better.
James Harden, an admittedly very talented kid whose early returns didn’t exactly wow NBA observers, really reached elite status in a hurry. When OKC visited Phoenix, I watched Kalamian’s work with the former Arizona State star and was impressed with the pragmatic function of their training.
The next young player up in OKC has been Reggie Jackson. Don’t be surprised if rookie Jeremy Lamb, who seemed like Kalamian’s main development responsibility this season, lifts his game next year.
Not being privy to the coaching tactics (and how they’re achieved) for any team, it’s impossible for writers to know how well a guy like Kalamian would do in the lead chair right now.
But he’s part of an organization the Suns would do well to emulate. Talking to him may demonstrate that there are other smart, aspiring head coaches beyond those recycled names we keep reading.
And it wouldn’t hurt to have another Kevin Durant available when Phoenix makes its first-round pick.