I am not going to go into a large statistical diatribe to make my point because I don't have the time and perhaps the capability. The point of this post is to give you one man's humble opinion. Here it is.
Nate is a good coach, not a great coach. I like him as a person and admire the type of team he wants to have. However, DESPITE THE IMPROVEMENT OF OUR WIN-LOSS RECORD EVERY YEAR, HE HAS STILL UNDERACHIEVED. We have succeeded in-spite of him and not because of him. This is not a snapshot of a reaction to the last month of play. This is an opinion I have had for more than a year. Let me give you a few reasons.
1. Nate is horrible at making the vital in-game adjustments that great coaches make. If something is working, invariably, he will go away from it. If something is not working, he will often continue it.
2. Nate will start a game with a decent plan and he will abandon it within minutes. Desperation makes a short memory?
3. Nate has one style that he knows how to coach, slow and methodical. This may work for the Spurs but not for us. We do not have the personnel. We are long, young, and athletic. If you have a Ferrari, why drive it only 75 MPH???
1. Rick Adelman handed Nate his a$$, coaching-wise, in the playoffs last year. Adelman pressured Nate to change his strategy and formula for what got us to the playoffs in the first place. Example: Nate experimented with all sorts of rotations and plays that he didn't do in the regular season. He played the two towers often, among other things. This was not done out of some genius strategy but was borne out of panic.
2. I think I read someone refer to Nate as "Nate Mcbrilliant" after he employed the three-guard lineup. I almost choked on my high-fiber Raisin Bran while reading that. The three-guard lineup was an act of desperation that does not make our team better in the long run. We will almost certainly not employ this lineup in the playoffs so why are we doing it now? The injury to Outlaw may be a good reason to continue the three-guard lineup for awhile but this all came before his injury. Tough decisions have to be made when it comes to minutes.
3. Nate is too tame when it comes to his treatment of the anti-Portland or anti-small market bias employed by the refs. We need an advocate on and off the court to counter what I see as a major problem. Last night I would have loved to see him get a technical, at least, for some of the horrible calls. He is too restrained, too passive, and does not appear to advocate for us as well as someone else might be able to.
4. In-game decisions with examples. Since the start of the 08 season, I have always said Oden needs the ball 100% more than he gets it. Why on earth did we go away from him after the amazing start he had? Sure, he got into foul trouble but even when he came back he was just another player on the court. This is an example of the failure to sustain a game plan and the inability to make the vital in-game adjustments great coaches make.
Another player that I would key in on is LMA. His running hook and his general post game is improving greatly and undervalued. Can you imagine an offense where Oden and LMA are working nothing but the post, Roy takes care of penetration and mid-range jumpers, and Blake or someone else either feeds the ball or takes the open three? Oden and LMA should get the ball in the post 70% of the time. We would get the other teams big men into foul trouble, would open up the rest of the floor, would allow for better passing, and would have to rely less on jump shots. It seems like Nate will often go away from Oden or LMA and they will take turns at hiding alternate games.
Why, oh why are we not giving the ball to Martell Webster more? We are going to NEED him to score more, and have a much larger role at the end of the year. I am talking second-unit touches now, not first-unit. He is explosive, athletic, and we are treating him like he is 50 years old. Nate avoiding him has systematically killed his confidence.
I think I would take Dante Cunningham over Juwan Howard, but that is a symptom of a larger problem. Nate has been generally horrible at getting players minutes. There have been so many times when we need a scoring jolt and he fails to make a change, i.e. bringing in Bayless for 5-10 minutes. I can't stand how he doesn't bring players like Bayless or Cunningham in when we are down so much late in the fourth quarter.
5. Is there any better evidence we are being out-coached when we lose to a team last night that fielded 7 players???
6. Bottom line = we have a Ferrari and it is being driven like a Toyota Prius.
I am not a Nate hater, but I am a Blazer lover. Please provide constructive criticism, not one line that says "you're dumb."