Mark Daigneault said his pairing with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was not accidental

An underrated element of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s success this season is continuity. Over the last four years, OKC has had the same coach and star pairing: Mark Daigneault and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

Both have ascended to rank among their best in the league across the Association. Daigneault capped off an outstanding season with Coach of the Year and Gilgeous-Alexander was named a finalist for MVP.

Gilgeous-Alexander recently spoke about his relationship with Daigneault, which has grown over the last four seasons. The 25-year-old spoke highly of him and said he’s the best head coach he’s ever had.

“It just makes it easy to play. I think I can say that for the guys across the whole team,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “He’s so easy to play for because he’s humble, he doesn’t love taking credit, he doesn’t take care about himself, he’s selfless. When he messes up, he owns it.

“Because he’s that way, he can get on us. He can hold us accountable because he holds himself accountable.”

Daigneault was asked about Gilgeous-Alexander’s comments. The 39-year-old said it’s not a coincidence they both received promotions at the same time.

“That’s not accidental. I think that’s some of the wisdom that Sam (Presti’s) done with this second time around. He was very transparent at that time with what the plan was,” Daigneault said. “It gave everybody the same starting point.”

Arguably the most important relationship for a title contender is between the head coach and franchise star. If both are on the same page, the sky is the limit as that synergy will trickle down the rest of the roster.

If not, it can make for a very awkward and ugly situation where a squad’s shortcomings turn into a blame game. For the Thunder, it appears they’ve nailed that relationship with Gilgeous-Alexander and Daigneault.

Story originally appeared on Thunder Wire