— A Championship Mindset Comes to Rip City
An NBA coaching search typically goes in one of two ways. A team will either bring a well known coach in to the fold, rallying the team’s fans behind the notion that said coach can re-create his prior success, or they opt to bring in a relatively unknown candidate who needs to be sold to each and every fan.
Neil Olshey, and the rest of the Paul Allen Trail Blazers brain-trust, decided to go with the latter when selecting former Dallas Maverick assistant Terry Stotts, as head coach of the Blazers.
But was this a good move?
Many of the current Trail Blazers had repeatedly put their vote in to the Kaleb Canales hat, initially creating a small bit of turmoil when Stotts was named coach. After those same players took the time to think about the move, the more they became comfortable with Stotts, and eventually endorsed the decision.
Fans should follow suit with the players and fret not about the decision to bring Stotts aboard.
Here are five ways in which the Terry Stotts hire will ultimately benefit Portland for years to come.
1. Two Decades of Experience
While it is shocking that 1990 was two decades ago (!), it’s no small feat to be consistently employed as a coach for nearly 23 years.
From an assistant coach in the CBA, to head coach in the NBA, Terry Stotts is no stranger to the game of basketball, or the coaching seat itself.
His biggest draw, and what most people have focused on since the hire, is his time spent as assistant with the Dallas Mavericks. Stotts, under head coach Rick Carlisle, was a part of the 2011 championship run that saw David (Dallas) slay the Goliath (Miami) in a very schizophrenic NBA Finals.
That experience alone has many Blazers fans resting assuredly that Stotts is the correct candidate in Portland.
2. Coached Under George Karl
George Karl has to be one of the top coaches to grace the game of basketball, and to gain coaching experience from Karl would prove to be priceless. Terry Stotts just so happens to be able to put that on his resume.
His history with Karl dates back to his playing days in the CBA, when he played for George Karl’s Montana Golden Nuggets squad in the early ’80s.
Stotts tried his hand at coaching in the CBA until 1992, and once ready for the transition to the NBA, was able to land a job with George Karl’s Seattle SuperSonics.
Stotts spent 5 years in Seattle before heading to Milwaukee to assume another assistant position with the Bucks, of which he again worked under George Karl.
With nearly a decade of coaching experience around a future Hall of Fame coach under his belt, Stotts certainly was able to learn from the best and Portland should be reap the benefits of that experience for years to come.
3. Portland’s Offense will Flourish
During his time in Dallas, Terry Stotts was able to work with one of the best power forwards this league has seen in quite some time, Dirk Nowitzki.
Nowitzki’s success in Dallas can’t all be accredited to Stotts, but the power forwards offensive prowess was certainly a bi-product of Stotts’ influence on the offense.
Now that Stotts is with the Blazers, he inherits a power forward, LaMarcus Aldridge, who is on the brink of greatness.
Over the last two seasons, LaMarcus Aldridge has seen his point per game total jump from 17 a game in 09-10 to nearly 22 a game in 11-12. Part of this uptick in points per game can be attributed to the exit of Brandon Roy, but there’s no denying that the Blazers are now Aldridge’s team.
Stotts’ influence on the offensive side of the ball, particularly LaMarcus’ schemes, will no doubt add some variety to a sometimes lethargic, and ordinary, offense.
4. Championship Caliber Experience
This aspect of Stotts’ coaching history can’t be stressed enough.
He’s been a part of a championship team that not only saw many ups and downs during their playoff run, but was able to topple the dominant force that was the Miami Heat.
Winning the Western Conference in this age of the NBA is one thing, but to then beat the three headed monster of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, is a completely different level of accomplishment that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Defeated and down 2-0 to said monster, Dallas rallied back to take the series 4-2, effectively shocking the sports world.
This kind of experience can’t be taught.
5. Kaleb Canales is the Assistant Coach
The early criticism of the Terry Stotts hire was the players’ desire to retain Canales as the head coach. Players such as Wesley Matthews, and even LaMarcus Aldridge, were fond of the young Canales and instantly taken aback by the hiring of Stotts.
As mentioned above, the players eventually came around to endorsing the hiring, becoming more comfortable with the vision Stotts had for the team.
Then the question came up of what to do with Canales. Do they let him walk, potentially finding a coaching job elsewhere? Or do they keep him in the staff?
They opted for the latter, deciding to keep Canales as the assistant coach, a move that no doubt sat well with the Portland roster.
These are just a few quick reactions to Stotts’ impact on the Portland Trail Blazers.
The outcome of this move is yet to be determined, but with as hard hitting as the Western Conference is, the current rebuilding era will be a tough one.
However, with two bright rookies, a new general manager and a championship caliber coach, Portland is, no doubt, headed in the right direction.