The Blazers are mostly dormant right now, preparing for the NBA Draft Lottery, and a very important draft to follow. That being said, the team released two borderline noteworthy items this afternoon.
Item #1: Damian Lillard named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team
No surprise here. The unanimous rookie of the year leads the pack of NBA All-Rookie Selections. Here is the official release from the team:
DAMIAN LILLARD NAMED TO KIA NBA ALL-ROOKIE FIRST TEAM
Reigning Rookie of the Year is lone unanimous choice
PORTLAND, Ore. (May 14, 2013) – Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard was named to the Kia NBA All-Rookie First Team by a vote of NBA head coaches, it was announced today by the league.
The unanimous 2012-13 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year, Lillard was the lone player chosen to the All-Rookie First Team by a unanimous vote of the league’s head coaches (58 points, 29 First Team votes).
He led NBA rookies with 19.0 points and a team-high 6.5 assists to go with 3.1 rebounds and 38.6 minutes in all 82 games. Portland selected Lillard with the sixth overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft out of Weber State.
The 6-foot-3 guard joined Oscar Robertson and Allen Iverson as the only three rookies in NBA history to record at least 1,500 points and 500 assists.
Lillard broke Stephen Curry’s NBA rookie record for 3-pointers made in a season, finishing with 185 3-pointers on the year. He continued his historic rookie season by becoming the first rookie to lead the NBA in total minutes played (3,167) in a season since Elvin Hayes in 1968-69.
Lillard, 22, is the 14th player in franchise history to garner All-Rookie honors, and the first to be named to the First Team since LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy in 2006-07.
Harrison Barnes (Golden State), Bradley Beal (Washington), Anthony Davis (New Orleans) and Dion Waiters (Cleveland) round out the First Team.
The Second Team includes Andre Drummond (Detroit), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Charlotte), Kyle Singler (Detroit), Jonas Valanciunas (Toronto) and Tyler Zeller (Cleveland).
Item #2: Blazers hire Nate Tibbets
The NBA has a perpetual revolving door at its assistant coaching positions. Once you’re in, you’re in. That doesn’t mean you stick too long with one team or another. Only the most die hard NBA fans can name and identify the numerous NBA assistant coaches (save for the Patrick Ewing’s and Thunder Dan Majerle’s of the assistant coaching ranks). Each season teams turn over their assistant coaches, often cleaning house and starting fresh every couple of seasons.
Portland has already bid farewell to Kaleb Canales. Today it was announced that they would be hiring Nate Tibbets from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Tibbets comes to the Blazers with NBA, D-League, and international bona fides. More than that, though, during his time with the Cavs he was responsible for overseeing the growth of one Kyrie Irving.
As Portland tries to groom Damian Lillard into a top 10 point guard, it makes sense to bring in a guy who helped coach Kyrie to his current level.
Here’s the team’s official release about Nate Tibbets:
TRAIL BLAZERS HIRE NATE TIBBETTS AS ASSISTANT COACH
Tibbetts spent past two seasons with Cleveland
PORTLAND, Ore. (May 14, 2013) – The Portland Trail Blazers have hired Nate Tibbetts as an assistant coach, it was announced today by General Manager Neil Olshey.
Tibbetts, 35, joins Head Coach Terry Stotts’ staff from the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he served as an assistant coach for the past two seasons.
“Nate is an exceptional addition to our staff and I am very excited to welcome him to the Trail Blazers,” said Stotts. “He possesses a strong work ethic and a passion for coaching. He has been instrumental in developing young players in the D-League and in the NBA. Additionally, his successful head coaching experience in the D-League provides a unique ability, which will complement our current staff.
“Along with the rest of the staff, he will also assist in game plan preparation and execution.”
Prior to joining the Cavaliers, Tibbetts spent two seasons as head coach of the NBA Development League’s Tulsa 66ers. He guided the Oklahoma City Thunder’s D-League affiliate to a 64-41 (.610) record and two trips to the playoffs during his tenure there.
Tibbetts was selected to be the United States head coach in the 2011 Pan American Games, where he led the group of D-League players to a bronze medal, USA’s first medal since 1999.
Tibbetts was a member of the D-League’s Sioux Falls Skyforce coaching staff for four seasons and was promoted to head coach after his first two campaigns. The former University of South Dakota standout was an assistant coach at the University of Sioux Falls from 2001-05.
He joins current assistants Jay Triano, David Vanterpool, Kim Hughes and Dale Osbourne on Portland’s coaching staff.