Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks looked at ease, smiling, maybe a little blinded by the light of a camera shining in his eyes during his pregame interview outside the visiting locker room at Golden State.
The job security of an NBA coach is as erratic as Mikhail Prokhorov’s contentedness, and while I didn’t want to ruin the moment of relaxation, I had to pose a question that’s easiest to toss to the coach with the league’s best record.
Hey coach, can you tell me about the pressures of coaching in the NBA?
“Pressure?” he said, being facetious. “There’s no pressure, look at my face: fresh, no worries about tonight.”
Brooks earned his position as head coach of the Thunder after being named interim when P.J. Carlesimo was fired in November 2008.
“I mean it’s pressure, but the pressure is on the players more so than the coaches,” Brooks said Wednesday prior to facing the Warriors. “Not that I don’t worry and care, but players are the ones that have to make the shots and make the plays.
“I’m a part of that but I don’t look at it as pressure. I look at it as this is what I love to do.”
But while players may or may not make the plays, coaches almost always take the fall.
Brooks is one of 30 head coaches in the NBA, all who understand the must-win attitude of owners like Prokhorov, who fired Avery Johnson of the Brooklyn Nets just weeks after he won Coach of the Month honors.
Johnson is one of three coaches already fired this season, as the Los Angeles Lakers split early with Mike Brown, and the Phoenix Suns recently parted ways with Alvin Gentry.
The seat of an NBA coach heats and cools season-to-season and even month-to-month.
Here’s a brief appraisal of coaches at different levels of security with their teams.