First fan post, so be gentle. I'm firmly in the "Nate has to go" camp. I hope I am wrong, but there it is. He is on the verge of losing the team's attention and respect. Injuries are no excuse: Good teams find a way, especially with the resources on this roster. If McMillan is a great coach, he'll pass this test. As Blazers fans we all want to see the team win, so we all wish Nate success. We want a great coach, and there's still a chance for Nate to be that coach. But we also get to speak up in feisty debates about who should be the next coach if he screws the pooch.
What would you do if Nate were shown the door and you were the new coach? What kind of style do you want to see? Here's what I would do.
1. Turn to Andre and tell him he's the starter and he won't get pulled after a mistake like he's some green rookie. He'll get 32-35 minutes a game.
2. Blake is gonna sit over on the bench with me. If he wants an active role, it's giving me thoughts and perspectives. Maybe someday he'll thank me if he wants to go into coaching himself. Dude has to face facts.
3. We're gonna run, damnit.
4. Miller, Roy, Webster, Aldridge, Oden start. I want to get Oden's minutes up to around 30 a game. Rudy is the sixth man and will get the bulk of his time with Webster on the bench and the Blazers going small or keeping a three-guard attack. Bayless is going to get 13-16 minutes a game and maybe more if he does well or the 3-guard lineup works. Sic 'em, B-Rex. Cunningham is going to man the backup 3 also, and be the go-to guy at backup 4 and should do fine. Joel's minutes will have a lot of variation because there will be games where Greg kills it and I'm not going to hold him back, and there will be games where he fouls out in a blaze of glory with plenty of time left. I think that's everybody not hurt and not named Howard right now.
4. Fix the damn pick and roll defense. It's embarrassing. It's as bad as Amare and Shaq together.
5. When substituting I'd do things like try to get Roy going in short bursts by putting him back in his comfort zone with the ball in his hands and Andre on the bench. Then bring Miller back in to play with a heated-up Roy. Tell Miller to keep looking for Roy's shots while he's working off the ball.
6. I'm going to let Miller call a lot of plays. The better the team does, the fewer plays I have to call from the sideline. Again, if Roy needs help finding his rhythm I'd call for Andre to set up isolation for Roy. I'd also tell Miller to find spacing on the floor that works for Roy, Webster and Bayless to drive on people. I wouldn't have to tell Miller any of this twice because he knows what he's doing after 13 or 14 years or whatever. I would trust him not to mess up B-Roy the All-Star's game.
7. I don't want to start making the offense go through Greg yet. Keep establishing Lamarcus in the beginning of the game. Greg will get his in the flow of the game. Jay-sus, we've already seen that he can run the break when he needs to and can drop dimes.
8. I'd challenge Brandon to play with Miller. I'd tell Roy that this is the season for him to do what he has talked about every offseason: get better without the ball. I'd use some motivational Coach speak and say, "This is what Kobe had to do. Now it is your turn." I'd say I don't care what speed you play at Brandon, I don't want to mess that up. But I want to get out on the break with the other players on this team who can do that, because getting easy baskets helps win ball games in an easier fashion. Let Andre set the tempo and trust in him to find your shots. Give him time to do this, it won't happen overnight.
What would you guys do as head coach? I hope we get on a red-hot-and-rolling Blazer win streak to make this a big dish of crow for me, but right now I'm firmly in the pessimist camp. This is a crucial point for this season. Does Nate have any other rabbits to pull out of his hat, besides starting a 3-guard lineup with Blake at PG and Brandon at small forward?