FanPost

Evidence that Nate is a great coach

In my time as a reader of Blazer's Edge (the past 3 years, I think), I've noticed a few trends that come up: Blazers should start playing [random foreign/white player]; Travis Outlaw has low Basketball IQ; and Fire Nate McMillan. The last one I've always found to be the most grating because it was difficult to assail. The team was improving but it was difficult to ascribe to Nate's influence.

But this season, with the state of the team, McMillan's really shining. His players are executing the offensive and defensive sets while playing wildly out of position. Our bench gunners, Bayless and Miller, are not shooting the team into oblivion. The team plays under control and exhibits tremendous amounts of confidence and trust in their teammates (and given the way November went, when no one could shoot, that's even more of a statement).

Part of the credit goes to Pritchard, who's putting people on the team who want to be those types of players. But more is due to McMillan - he's taken potential malcontents like Miller and Bayless and found ways to fit their skills into the team concept. He's given Cunningham and now Pendergraph just the right amount of rope to contribute to an NBA team well before anyone thought they would be ready. He taught Brandon Roy that 'The Secret' wasn't sacrificing his shots so that teammates could take them, but it was sacrificing himself for the greater team good (which can mean going for 25 night-after-night-after-night). He made sure that a guy brought in to wave the towel from the bench was mentally prepared to unpack his game from the suitcase.

Not only that, but the team as a unit exhibits extremely high levels of mental toughness. In the context of the season and in each individual game, the team has never quit, never folded, or backed down. They were down 14 in the first quarter, and rather than trying to shoot their way back into the game, they just plugged away on offense and committed to better defense and lo-and-behold, a 10+ point victory going away.

If Nate isn't on the All-Star bench, and isn't discussed on the national level as a leading coach-of-the-year candidate, I really won't know what to say.

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