The Oklahoma City Thunder have officially added assistant coach Bob Beyer to the staff. Beyer replaces Adrian Griffin, who left for the Toronto Raptors in early July.
Beyer has coached under Stan Van Gundy for the Detroit Pistons for the past four seasons. The final two seasons, Beyer was upgraded to associate head coach. Prior to that, since 2003 he has spent time with the Raptors and Orlando Magic.
Big 12 fans will remember him from the 2001-03 seasons where he served under Bob Knight for the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
With the Pistons, Beyer was pivotal in influencing the switch from a heavy based pick-and-roll offense for the first three years of his tenure in Detroit into a motion attack.
“The three biggest influences on (the change) are watching the film and Bob,” Van Gundy said in 2017. “(Those have) had a big influence on me on the way we play.”
The Pistons jumped from 24th in the NBA in passes per game with 278.5 passes to 17th in the league with 299. The Thunder were 30th and 29th in those seasons respectively. In terms of offensive efficiency, the Pistons improved from 25th with a 103.3 rating to 19th with a 104.9 rating according to Hollinger’s ESPN team statistics.
This falls in line with Billy Donovan’s desire to move to a more pass-happy offense. Thunder Summer League coach Mark Daigneault said as much last July to The Oklahoman.
“The pace of play and the way the ball is moving, this is not a one-off,” Daigneault said. “Everything we’re doing out here is designed to trickle up or to be experimented with or to be evaluated, both the personnel and the way we’re playing.”
“As a coach, stylistically, do I want the ball moving? Passing, cutting, I want all that,” Donovan also said in The Oklahoman during Summer League. “But it’s also got to make sense for our personnel. I think we have a team that can play really fast. I think we need to get up and down the floor. I want to see the ball move a little bit more.”
With the new additions to the roster and the new addition to the coaching staff, it appears that Donovan will finally have his chance to flex his muscles for the offense he has been wanting since he arrived in Oklahoma City in 2015.