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

Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Billy Donovan, left, talks with Russell Westbrook in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets in Oklahoma City, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015. Oklahoma City won 117-93. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press
Bleacher Report MilestonesB/R StaffJanuary 10, 2017

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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