Thunder's Mark Daigneault in COVID Protocols; Mike Wilks to Be Acting HC vs. Kings

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVDecember 28, 2021

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - DECEMBER 06: Mark Daigneault head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder looks on against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena on December 06, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
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The Oklahoma City Thunder announced that head coach Mark Daigneault entered the NBA's health and safety protocols.

Assistant coach Mike Wilks will be acting head coach in place of Daigneault, starting with Tuesday's road game against the Sacramento Kings.

Oklahoma City sits 13th in the Western Conference at 12-20. The team's fortunes have improved of late, with OKC winning four of its last five games.

Like many others around the NBA, the Thunder are undermanned amid the surge of new COVID-19 cases. They will be without Darius Bazley, Tre Mann, Aleksej Pokusevski, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Aaron Wiggins when they take the floor against the Kings because all five are in the health and safety protocols.

Oklahoma City is a five-point underdog at FanDuel.

Daigneault is in his second season as head coach, putting together a 34-70 record so far. While wins have been few and far between, the franchise is showing promising signs.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging 23.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.6 assists over the last two years. Luguentz Dort was a 29.7 percent three-point shooter as a rookie in 2019-20 but has seen his average percentage climb to 33.1 over 2020-21 and 2021-22. First-round draft pick Josh Giddey is putting up 10.8 points, 7.1 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game.

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