The NBA pre-season is moving closer and closer, and now that the Portland Trail Blazers’ coaching staff is finally at capacity, it’s time to pull the curtains and unveil the final product.
There’s not too much information available on every member, but here’s a quick, but in-depth run-down of the people who will be teaching, leading and developing this young Rip City squad for the foreseeable future.
1. Terry Stotts, Head Coach
Profile: Former Head Coach of Milwaukee Bucks (Fired in 2007), Former Assistant Coach for Dallas Mavericks (2008-2012), Assistant Coach for Golden State Warriors, Milwaukee Bucks, Atlanta Hawks and Seattle SuperSonics, Star Player on the CBA’s Montana Golden Nuggets (1980-1983), Current NBA Coaching Record is 116-168
“I think they are going to play an exciting brand of basketball,” Stotts said. “And the young players will improve. I think we will be better in April than in November. That will be the measuring stick. There’s not a player on this roster who is not going to try and make the playoffs this year … but my concern with this team, and especially the young players, is getting them better every day, and every month.” — Oregonian
“Yes I want to run. I want to shoot threes. And if we can score 100 points every night that’s great. But to be successful, you have to do it on both ends of the floor,” Stotts said. “I’m proud of what I can do offensively, and how I can help this team offensively, but make no mistake, I’m going to make sure the players know that defense is a priority.” — Oregonian
During his tenure as one of Rick Carlisle’s assistant coaches with the Dallas Mavericks, Terry Stotts rose up the ranks as an “offensive genius,” finding new ways to free up Dirk Nowitzki and re-vamping their offensive schemes during their championship run in 2011. Now the head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers, Stotts will have to keep the Blazer offense pushing, while instilling defensive principles that won’t allow for a repeat of last season — Portland averaged 97.2 points per game (16th in the NBA), while allowing 97.8 points per game (18th in the NBA).
With likely the NBA’s youngest roster — 12 of the 15-man roster are 25-years old or younger — Coach Stotts has his work cut out for him. He’ll be starting two rookies in Damian Lillard and either Meyers Leonard or Joel Freeland at center, and he’s working with a far from complete roster, but any forward progress is upward mobility from Portland’s horrendous 28-38 finish last season.
Stotts has a ridiculous amount of endorsements ranging from Shareef Abdur-Rahim (bet you wouldn’t hear that name again) to his former boss, Rick Carlisle. We just have to remember that Rome wasn’t built overnight, and it’ll probably take a season, maybe two, before the Blazers start wreaking havoc in the Western Conference again.
2. Kaleb Canales, “Defensive Coordinator”
Profile: Blazers Interim Head Coach (2012), Former Head Coach of Texas-Arlington, Blazers’ Summer League Head Coach (2012).
“Since he has such a good relationship with the players, that’s an asset that’s invaluable,” Stotts said of Canales. — Oregonian
Kaleb Canales was highly-regarded as the “in-house favorite” for the head coaching position, but ended up losing out as a finalist to Terry Stotts. What’s interesting is that general manager Neil Olshey had the two working together during their interviews in London, thus setting up chemistry for the situation the two face now.
The players love him, the front office loves him, and there’s no question he’ll be a head coach in the NBA sometime in the not-so distant future.
3. Jay Triano, Assistant Coach
Profile: Head Coach of Canadian Nation Team, Former Canadian Basketball Player, Former Head Coach of Toronto Raptors (2008-2011), Former Assistant Coach for Team USA (2008).
Jay Triano doesn’t have the best NBA track record — he’s 87-142 through two-and-a-half seasons with the Toronto Raptors — but his experience as an international basketball player and Olympic coach is more than enough to warrant him a seat at the table.
I don’t have much info on Triano, what offensive/defensive schemes he likes to run, or even what kind of coach he is. But I do know that he holds each and every player on his roster accountable for bringing their A-plus game and no less.
“I think gone are the days when you can throw 12 players out there and expect to compete, and I think my time with the United States team showed that,” Triano told the Toronto Globe & Mail. “Jerry Colangelo asked those players for a three-year commitment. When they did that and the players became committed, that’s when they became successful and won back-to-back gold medals.
4. Kim Hughes, “Big Man Specialist”
Profile: Averaged 15 Points and 11 Rebounds As a Senior At the University of Wisconsin, Drafted in the Third Round Pick No. 9 by the Buffalo Braves (1974), Averaged Eight Points and Nine Rebounds as a Rookie with the New York Nets, Named to First Team ABA All-Rookie Team, Interim Head Coach of Los Angeles Clippers (2010).
With the entire offense running through LaMarcus Aldridge, having an ex-big man like Kim Hughes on the coaching staff is an invaluable addition. Not only can he give L.A. tips and tricks to improve his game, but he can help speed up the development of Meyers Leonard and Joel Freeland, as well as help add towards J.J. Hickson’s clearly-lacking post game.
5. David Vanterpool, Assistant Coach “Will be working primarily with the guards”
Profile: All-Euroleague Second Team (2004), Former Washington Wizard (2001), Former Assistant Coach for CSKA Moscow, Italian Supercup MVP (2005)
This excerpt from CSNNW.com should be enough:
“Stotts ran into Vanterpool – a former 6-5 professional guard – five years ago while he was playing overseas ball for the European club CSKA Moscow. The coach at the time, Ettore Messina, told Stotts that Vanterpool would make a great coach some day. A year later, Vanterpool,39, attended an NBA coaching clinic in New Jersey in which Casey, Carlisle, and Stotts were present, as well. The two got reacquainted and apparently Vanterpool blew Stotts away with his coaching mind and work ethic. Vanterpool will be working primarily with the guards. ‘With his playing experience and being young enough to get out there and bang with them in practice, will really benefit our program,’ Stotts said. ‘He will work mainly with the development of our perimeter players and I’m happy to have him on board.’”
6. Dale Osbourne, Player Development
Profile: Former Head Coach of NBDL’s Tulsa 66ers, Utah Flash and Austin Toros, Former Assistant at South Alabama, Former Oklahoma City Thunder D-League Affiliate.
“I’m very excited about Dale joining our staff,” said Stotts. “His diverse coaching background and experience at the college and D-League level will be very valuable in the development of our younger players both on the court and off.” — RealGM
Now that we’ve fully introduced the official 2012 Rip City coaching staff, are you excited for this season?