1. Chauncey Billups has the respect of his young core
His experience on rebuilding teams and a roster full of promising guards are both significant reasons Billups should remain the head coach of the Blazers during the rebuild phase, but the biggest one is this: he’s Chauncey freaking Billups.
If nothing else, he definitely has the respect of his players. Players say it all the time: they love to play for former players because they can trust in what those former players are telling them based on their shared experience dealing with life as an NBA player.
And this isn’t just any old player, this is Mr. Big Shot himself we’re talking about here. This is a guy who went through unprecedented turmoil in his first few years in the league only to emerge as the general of the toughest team of this milennium, a team which he would then lead to one of the unlikeliest championships in NBA history in 2004 as Finals MVP.
He’s a five-time All-Star, a three-time All-NBA selection, a two-time NBA All-Defensive team choice, and the winner of both the Sportsmanship Award and the Teammate of the Year Award. With his elite basketball IQ, the latter two acknowledgements of his character only add to the notion that not only is he a great basketball mind, he’s a great guy too.
Billups has already gotten his players to buy into the tough, defensive mentality that he absorbed while in Detroit for all of those years. And though he’s a player’s coach, he also knows when to be firm and with who, another skill he learned from his coach in Detroit, the legendary Larry Brown. Billups’ players recognize that he knows how to win, so they will take their cues from him as they look to create a distinctive identity for a new era of Portland Trail Blazers basketball.