Terry Stotts has been hired as the coach of the Portland Trail Blazers. This move is now what is the latest in a bundle of unexpected hires of new head coaches around the NBA. Of course, the Blazers were courting Stotts, however it was expected that they would go with last season’s interim head coach in Kaleb Canales.
Stotts, at first glace, is a very peculiar hire. He has 12 years experience as a coach in the NBA. As a head coach, Stotts doesn’t really jump off of the page. In his first head coaching stint with the Atlanta Hawks, Stotts took over for Lon Kruger mid season in 2002. He had a record of 24-31 while coaching the promising Shareef Abdur-Rahim. The next season he would have a record of 28-54 before being let go by the Hawks in 2004.
In his next stint, Stotts would be the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks that didn’t feature a lot of offensive talent outside of Michael Redd. He would coach them to a playoff appearance in 2005 with a 40-42 record but eventually be outed in the first round. The next season, when Redd was injured, the Bucks would go 23-41 under Stotts and he would be fired once again.
Since then, Stotts was hired as an offensive assistant under Rick Carlisle in 2007 once he became the head coach of the Dallas Mavericks. He has made strides as a coach, reportedly, and was the offensive genius that put Dirk Nowitzki in multiple positions in which he could score in the 2011 championship run the Mavericks had sustained. Stotts was the genius who allowed J.J Barea to look like the next coming of Steve Nash. That says a lot about his offensive genius.
Here’s what Carlisle had to say about Stotts being hired.
“Terry was a big part of our championship success in Dallas, and we wish him the very best. He has the great fortune of going to work for Paul Allen, who, along with Mark Cuban, is one of the best owners in the NBA.”
Stotts will be expected to develop new rookie point guard Damian Lillard while exploiting Lamarcus Aldridge’s talents to their fullest potential. Offensively, Aldridge was somewhat limited in McMillans offense because of hwo much it depended on guard play. Adjustments were constantly made to cater to Aldridge’s needs, but it never fully recovered from having Roy as the focal point. It wasn’t as effective as it should have been and that’s why McMillan was fired.
Stotts is going to have to put Aldridge in the same position that he had Dirk Nowitzki in. I’m sure Lamarcus is excited for the opportunity to work with Stotts. With how well Nowitzki and even Abdur-Rahim performed under him, he’ll surely be put in the position to succeed.
I worry about the Blazers defensively now that Stotts if coaching. He’s known for his offensive coaching ability, but not nearly as well for his defensive coaching. The Blazers may be set back in that area, but I’m sure that he’ll have assistants on board who can help with that. Plus, I think that a lot of the Blazers players are already great defenders. They’ll know what they need to do on the floor defensively–they shouldn’t struggle too much there.
Overall, I think that Stotts is a good hire for the Blazers. He’s going to bring something offensively that the Blazers haven’t seen in a few years since Roy was hampered by his cursed knees. I’m excited for Blazers basketball this year–it’ll definitely be fun to watch.