What should PDX expect next season?
The Portland Trail Blazers spent nearly the past five months without a permanent head coach, but with the news that Terry Stotts has been hired this offseason, the team is finally ready to get past the summer and hit the court in 2013.
We won’t know exactly what this team is going to look like until the season tips off, but one thing we do know, is that the offense should look drastically different than it has the past few years.
Run, Run, Run
Nate McMillan was known in Portland for his slow-it-down, isolation style of basketball, and the team ran the slowest pace in the league on more than one occasion.
Don’t expect this to be the case under Stotts.
“I do want to play at a pace,” Stotts said in his introductory press conference. He wants to push the ball, look for quick—but good—shots and trust his players to make the right choices on the offensive end.
A young team truly couldn’t ask for anything more.
Next year’s Trail Blazers should be itching to get out and run, and if they’re able to make those good decisions Stotts is looking for, they should find success in a fast-paced offense next season.
The Trail Blazers have had two of the worst three-point shooting point guards in the NBA come through Portland in recent years, but Damian Lillard should quickly make fans forget about the past.
A 40.9 percent three-point shooter in college, he’s going to look to make plays from behind the arch next season, and Stotts is the perfect coach to help put that shot on display.
Stotts has said that he is “a big believer in three-point shooting,” and with the young players improving their shots, he wants to utilize their shooting abilities.
The Blazers haven’t been the best shooting team in recent memory, but a new coach with a new mentality could help turn them around next year.
The Trail Blazers’ utilization of LaMarcus Aldridge should be nothing new – (AP Photo/Don Ryan)
Stotts’ resume as a head coach isn’t the most impressive, which is a clear indication that the team is willing to rebuild and grow together as a unit. Luckily for them, they have one of the best power forwards in the game in LaMarcus Aldridge.
The Trail Blazers’ utilization of LaMarcus Aldridge should be nothing new, but with Stotts at the helm, we could see Aldridge take his game to yet another level in 2013.
Stotts has been widely regarded as the mastermind of the Dallas Mavericks’ offense. He may have been quick to give Dirk Nowitzki the credit in his initial press conference, but there’s no denying that the Mavs are going to miss his schemes.
Whether Stotts should be given the credit is up for debate, but what’s undeniable is that the 54-year-old coach knows when to call a play and knows how to find a mismatch.
Aldridge is the face of the Blazers franchise and is going to be the go-to option on offense until someone rips it away from him. Stotts will know what plays to call and when to get him the ball.
Kaleb Canales was highly regarded as a player’s coach in last season’s exit interviews, but Stotts is considered a person who can motivate and relate to his players according to The Oregonian’s Joe Freeman.
If the players buy into his offensive system, next year could be fun to watch for fans in Rip City.
Part of the excitement is going to come from Damian Lillard, the team’s first pick in June’s NBA draft. His shot is silky, his athleticism is top-notch and his playmaking skills are exactly what you want to see out of a scoring point guard.
That being said, it’s the freedom that Stotts gives him and how he utilizes the point guard in the pick-and-roll game with Aldridge that will create more success for the rookie floor general.
2013 could be full of rough patches, as the team will enter the season with a young, inexperienced roster, but know right now that even if the team can’t find success right away, they’re going to put on display a far more entertaining brand of basketball in 2013.
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© Bryant Knox for North West Sports Beat, 2012. |
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