Dave Joerger isn’t the typical veteran coaching candidate for the Trail Blazers
Dave Joerger is a retread who has never proven anything but capable of more. He began his coaching career as an assistant for the Memphis Grizzlies who slowly rose the ranks before taking the head coaching job in 2013.
He found great success in his three seasons as the head coach for the Grizz, earning a playoff berth each year. In 2015, he even schemed the aging Memphis roster into the 5th seed, the third most efficient defense in the league, and a first-round playoff upset over our very own Portland Trail Blazers.
He eventually lost his position with the Grizzlies after a public fallout with franchise superstar Marc Gasol and earned a new post with the Sacramento Kings.
There, he brought the absolute most out of a young roster featuring De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, and Marvin Bagley.
In 2018-2019, he coached them to 39 wins, their best record since 2006, and a chance to fight to the very end for the eighth seed. This was behind a surprisingly competent defense, ranked 20th in the league, despite a roster loaded with defensive sieves.
His very excellence may have been his downfall as the Kings brass were led to believe that their team was capable of more. He was fired and replaced with former Lakers and Warriors coach Luke Walton. Since his departure, the Kings have gone 31-41 twice and most recently finished dead last in defensive efficiency.
Joerger’s ability to coax the fullest potential out of his players, specifically on the defensive end, is the exact skillset the Trail Blazers need to elevate their ceiling. He should be Portland’s number one target to take Terry Stotts’s former post.