Jul 14, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Portland Trailblazers coach David Vanterpool leans in to talk to his team during a first quarter time out while facing the Los Angeles Lakers in an NBA Summer League game at the Thomas and Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Blazers' Assistant Tops 76ers' Coaching Search

David Vanterpool is a serious contender for the vacant coaching job in Phildaelphia. He has been with the Blazers since last August, where he worked closely with unanimous Rookie of the Year, Damian Lillard. While his success is most recognizable from the name of another, he is far from a coattail conquistador.

In his hay day, Vanterpool had a successful Euro-career. He played in Italy, China, and even the US before settling in Russia and winning the Euro-league championship in 2006. He was hired by the Thunder in 2010 to be director of basketball personnel and, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, was on pace to become a general manager if he didn’t love coaching so much.

Cue Terry Stotts. On August 17th of last year, Stotts added Jay Triano, Kim Hughes, and David Vanterpool to his coaching staff. Despite scouting for the Thunder, Vanterpool had coached the Trail Blazers’ Summer League team in 2010 and done a very good job. The Blazers would be very fortunate to keep him, but there is a good chance that he will begin his head coaching career just in time to be blamed for the Sixers’ impending horrendous season.

Philadelphia received permission to interview Vanterpool from Portland on July 26th. Initially considered to be a mere possibility, he has emerged as a probability, joining Brett Brown (Spurs) and Jay Larranaga (Celtics) as a frontrunner for the position.

Speaking candidly, I do not want to see him leave, but I want him to get his chance as an NBA head coach. Sadly, this opportunity seldom arises with a team above the bottom rung, so Philadelphia is a reasonable place to get his start. Unfortunately, they are in full-on tank mode and the season hasn’t even started. I fear that if Vanterpool is offered the job, he will inevitably be blamed for the team’s failures. Hopefully, that would not affect his future appeal.

Philadelphia GM, Sam Hinkie, is a smart guy. His positive post-interview impression of Vanterpool speaks volumes for Vanterpool’s worth. The prospect of David leaving Portland for Philadelphia is both exciting and terrifying. There is no way to conceal the loss it would be for the Blazers, but I wish him the best of luck.

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