Gettin’ It Done
Terry Stotts’ time with the Portland Trail Blazers has been a mixed bag of success, disappointment and confusing rebuilding. Nobody has pegged Stotts as a Coach of the Year candidate, but a strong start to the 2013-14 season should have people re-thinking their votes one month into the year.
Through four weeks, Stotts has this group looking like a completely different group. The bench is different, the starters are the same; the mentality, however, is that of a contender.
Can the Blazers keep up their current pace? Not likely. They’re not going to win 85 percent of their games, and eventually the winning streak will come to an end.
That said, 10 straight victories can’t be ignored, and a 12-2 start to the year deserves praise at this point in the season.
Sticking To His Guns
Stotts has a roster that can shoot threes, and he’s not afraid to use it.
On the season, Wesley Matthews and Damian Lillard have become two of the best long-distance shooters in the NBA. They’re hitting at an incredibly high rate, and more importantly, they’re scoring both early and late in contests.
Stotts has also allowed his crew the freedom to shoot early in the shot clock. It’s a player’s dream to be given that green light, and Stotts doesn’t regret giving his roster that kind of responsibility.
As the season progresses, we’ll see how hot the team stays. Nobody expects Portland to shoot like this in all 82 games, and a big part of coaching is making adjustments.
Keep an eye on Stotts’ game plan, especially when Plan A inevitably breaks down at some point in the year..
The Trail Blazers have earned the reputation as the comeback kids of the NBA. They get down early, they fight back late and they came away with solid wins all Week 4 as a result.
The problem with this method is that you’re going to become more fatigued as the year goes on. Coming back isn’t as easy when your legs are tired, and as we saw last season, losing toward the end of the year is a recipe for disaster.
Stotts has done a fantastic job of rallying the troops in times of need. Now he needs to get his guys on board early, forcing other teams into uncomfortable positions late in contests.
A Look Ahead
Coming off of a big win, any team can be susceptible to a hangover. Portland fans are beginning to wonder how long the streak can last, and it’s going to be Stotts’ job to keep their heads on straight.
Up to this point, the Blazers have been one of the best teams in the league. They’re riding high, but some are wondering when they’ll come crashing down to earth.
In Week 5, Portland takes on three teams that have disappointed their fanbases almost from the get-go. The New York Knicks are first on the list, followed shortly by the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers.
To be a playoff squad, the Blazers must beat the teams they’re supposed to beat. They’ve done that through four weeks thus far, and the hope is that they can keep the momentum going.