Portland Trail Blazers: Chauncey Billups, Neil Olshey press conference notes

Neil Olshey, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Neil Olshey, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /
Chauncey Billups, Portland Trail Blazers
Chauncey Billups, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

The Portland Trail Blazers and general manager Neil Olshey held a press conference to introduce new head coach Chauncey Billups to the public at noon Portland time on Tuesday, June 29th.

Of course, there were the usual questions about how Billups expects the team to perform, how he plans to improve the team, if he’s excited to be there, blah blah etc. A good amount of the questions, however, were dedicated to addressing the new head coach’s dark past with sexual assault.

Both Olshey and Billups addressed the incident in their opening statements. Olshey offered an unsubstantial assurance that he and the team thoroughly vetted Billups’s side of the story, not relying on the past investigations of other teams, and that they were confident that he’s a good man and a great leader. Billups gave a dialogue about how he’s learned that decisions have consequences for himself and others around him—sometimes seeming like he was backpedaling into an apology, other times seeming like he was again asserting his innocence, but in the end he didn’t really do either.

Neil Olshey made it clear he believes he’s said enough about Billup’s sexual assault history

As more questions came in from reporters about Billups’s sexual abuse case, Olshey would refer them back to his opening statement. At one point, he did reveal that the organization’s inside investigation was actually outsourced to an undisclosed agency whose findings they were comfortable with.

It was alluded that while Damian Lillard had influence in the coaching search, he did not have a final say in the hiring. It was not clarified whether or not Dame knew about Billups’s sexual assault case.

Olshey was asked what made him pick Billups over more qualified candidates, including San Antonio Assistant Coach Becky Hammon. He began by giving praises to Hammon, saying how impressive it was that she got to the point in the process that she did.

Ultimately, he gave three key reasons why Billups was named head coach.

Firstly, he believes that Billups will be the best possible coach for the Blazers personnel, specifically Dame and CJ McCollum, stating:

"“Our two best players are guards like him.”"

This implies the rumblings that Olshey intends to run it back with the same roster are true.

He also stated that he was impressed with Billups’s short body of work with the Los Angeles Clippers as an assistant. He received rave reviews from Clippers Head Coach Tyronn Lue and was especially interested in how LA improved defensively throughout the course of the season. He expects Billups to have the same impact on the Blazers defense.

Lastly, he mentioned that Billups was picked because he preferred to have new blood at the helm—instead of the usual cycle of retreads. Olshey asserted that while Billups didn’t have the most impressive resume per say, he fully believed that the coach he chose had the highest ceiling of all the candidates.

Next. Grading Neil Olshey's past five seasons. dark