Billy Donovan Becomes 2nd Rookie Coach with 40 Wins at All-Star Break

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Billy Donovan Becomes 2nd Rookie Coach with 40 Wins at All-Star Break
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

Oklahoma City Thunder coach Billy Donovan has enjoyed the benefits of a supremely talented roster, becoming just the second rookie head coach in NBA history to reach 40 wins before the All-Star break, per Elias Sports Bureau (via ESPN Stats & Info).

The feat was first accomplished last season when Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr controversially took over for Mark Jackson, inheriting a roster that already featured star guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson alongside emerging forward Draymond Green. 

Kerr then led the Warriors to a 42-9 record by the All-Star break on the way to earning the franchise's first championship since 1974-75.

Donovan also inherited an excellent roster from a reasonably successful (but still disappointing) coach, replacing Scott Brooks for a team that features the dominant trio of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka.

Brooks did make some questionable decisions during his six-year tenure, but the larger issue was OKC's poor injury luck over the past few seasons.

Regardless, Donovan has done a nice job in his first season in the NBA, leading the Thunder to a 40-14 record that's good for the No. 3 spot in a top-heavy Western Conference.

Of course, the former University of Florida coach is still a long shot to match Kerr's level of success from last season, as the Warriors and San Antonio Spurs form a formidable duo atop the conference standings.

OKC is probably the only team with enough firepower to eliminate the Spurs or Warriors, but winning back-to-back series against those squads would still be a whole lot to ask.

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