Oklahoma City Thunder: Should Nick Collison be a head-coaching candidate?

Retired Oklahoma City Thunder forward Nick Collison (Photo by Matteo Marchi/Getty Images)
Retired Oklahoma City Thunder forward Nick Collison (Photo by Matteo Marchi/Getty Images) /

Should Nick Collison be a head-coaching candidate for the Oklahoma City Thunder?

It has been a little more than 20 days since the Oklahoma City Thunder and Billy Donovan went their separate ways. Since then, Donovan has accepted the head coaching position in Chicago with the Bulls while the head coaching position in OKC remains vacant.

Several names have been floated around but there doesn’t seem to be any publicized favorite at the moment. One name buzzing around the fan base in Oklahoma City is Nick Collison, but should he be the next man at the helm for the Thunder?

Collison was drafted in 2003 by the Seattle SuperSonics, he moved with the Sonics to Oklahoma City in 2008, and spent the entirety of his career with the franchise, retiring after the 2017-18 season. On March 20, 2019, Collison became the first player in Thunder history to have his jersey retired, he wore the No. 4 during his entire NBA career.

During the latter half of his career, Collison gained the nickname Mr. Thunder, due to his work ethic, gritty attitude, teammate reputation, and passion for work in the community. In fact, the Thunder released a film under their Thunder Films production company titled Mr. Thunder.

Being a former beloved player does not automatically translate to being a great head coach. A lot of preparation, commitment, knowledge, and leadership are required to fill the role. Given Collison’s long NBA career, he does possess these tenancies. Which brings up a very important question, does Collison even want to take on the challenge of being an NBA head coach?

Family time goals

During a press conference prior to his jersey retirement in 2019, the media asked Collison what his plans were for his post-playing career, and coaching did not seem like a high priority for Mr. Thunder:

"I don’t have enough time right now for that. Coaching is so much. It’s the hardest job. All the hours I spent as a player, the coaches are there two or three hours before me, they stay two or three hours after, they’re there in the summer."

Collison followed up his first statement, further explaining his desire to try out coaching someday:

"It’s just not something I don’t have enough time for now. I think in the future it could be something I’d be interested in. It would come natural to me. As a player, that’s more what you’re used to, on the court, trying to figure out how to win games."

Take into account these comments came over one year ago, and Collison noted maybe someday coaching could be in his future. With that said, he was recently married and perhaps may not be interested in jumping full-time into the coaching scene at the moment. Who knows?

Move over rookie

The Thunder are entering a pivotal phase in franchise history, transitioning into their first true rebuild since moving to Oklahoma City. For this to be successful the Thunder must appoint the correct head coach to propel them into the future.

Oklahoma City’s last two head coaches – Scott Brooks and Billy Donovan – were both first-time NBA head coaches. This time around, the Thunder could benefit from a head coach with experience of guiding a team through a rebuild and a knack for developing young players.

Next. How to approach the future without Billy Donovan. dark

In the end, despite the long and storied history between Collison and the Thunder, Oklahoma City would be better served going in a different direction for their next head coach. While Collison remains in a distanced front office role, perhaps he becomes more involved as he gains more experience. Until then, Collison’s legacy will live on for always as his jersey hangs in the rafters.