Portland Trail Blazers: 3 rookie mistakes Chauncey Billups must avoid

Chauncey Billups, BIG3, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Chauncey Billups, BIG3, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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The Portland Trail Blazers will look a little different from last season in 2021-2022 and the biggest changes might come from new Head Coach Chauncey Billups. Next year will be Billups’s first season at the helm as an NBA head coach.

Billups has already talked a big game about implementing major changes; most notably a more passing and “off-ball player movement”-centric offense and an increase in focus on defense.

These adjustments will be a breath of fresh air from former coach Terry Stotts’s strategy of betting everything on Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum‘s abilities to create offense out of thin air. Of course, talking about making changes and actually enacting them are two different things.

3 things rookie Head Coach Chauncey Billups must avoid doing in his debut season

As next season will be Billups’s first as a primary play-caller, it’s impossible to predict how he’ll do. Implementing a new system is bound to have some snags and hang-ups, so a slow start, especially with major changes in the roster, shouldn’t be a cause for concern. What will be good indicators of how he is as a head coach will be how he reacts to adversity. There are some common rookie mistakes that he should avoid in order to construct the best season possible.

Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers
Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /

1. Don’t overly rely on Dame and CJ

It’s appetizing to come onto a team with a superstar and try to run everything through them. Unless that team has LeBron James on it though, coaches must avoid running their star player into the ground in the sake of job security.

Terry Stotts has already shown what the Portland Trail Blazers ceiling is if they solely depend on the creation of Dame and CJ for their offense. While Rip City has come across a decent amount of success playing through their star backcourt, it’s not a good enough plan to get them to the Finals.

Billups is expected to bring a motion offense to Portland. If things go south early on, he could look to Dame to just take over games. Lillard is more than capable of winning regular season games on his own, but the more Billups leans on him, the less continuity his team will have with the system he wants to run.

The motion offense will be important to the Blazers chances in the playoffs, as Portland will have a more balanced attack and defenses will be threatened by every player on the court rather than just Lillard and McCollum.

Not only could leaning on his backcourt early on affect the team’s ability to carry out his vision down the road, it could lead to extra mileage on the two guards. This will put them at injury risk or at the very least, a tapped out gas tank entering the postseason.

Hero ball should be reserved for crunch time in close games and the playoffs. It will be a bad sign if Lillard is carrying too much of the load early in the regular season. Billups has promised a more versatile attack; let’s hope he keeps his word and doesn’t back down at the first sign of trouble.