Mid Court double team
Today teams are pinching the point guard, or other initiator, closer to mid court with tall players, and zoning the key area to discourage short passes over the mid court double team. This has caused a very marked slow down in the game and has increased physical play because teams who have difficulty dealing with the double team are seen as passive while the double teaming team is seen as aggressive. This dichotomy of intention, as interpreted by the referees, leads to an imbalance at the free throw line because the aggressive team is 'allowed' more contact.
Portland has trouble with the mid court double team because no one comes to the top of the key to help the point guard. Teams with two good ball handlers like the Spurs or the Lakers, can move the ball horizontally and take advantage of the floor imbalance that results when the defense double teams near the mid court. This is one area where Nate has to show his stuff as a coach because the inability to deal with this trend is a game plan deficiency and failing to deal with it is the fault of the coach.
Foul shot disparity
It seems that this year there is more grumbling about foul shot disparity. Blazer fans know this has always been a problem. This year though some good teams on the slide down toward mediocrity, and with a large following (that is, viewership), especially with the pundits, are the victims of this disparity and because of the fiscal clout they possess feel they can expect some relief when they complain. And complain they have.
I propose that coaches can only speak to the referees during the first period, and after the first period coaches can only talk to the refs to ask for clarification on technicals, ejections, and three point shot reviews. If a coach talks to a ref any other time then a technical is assessed to a player in the starting lineup each time the coach violates the rule. This would be good for Portland because Nate doesn't compalin much--something I admire him for. Don't like the calls, play better!
In my opinion, this division of teams into these categories exists and is used by referees to establish the way they are going to call fouls in a game. The only way to deal with this if you are the passive team is to move, ball and player and put the onus on the refs. Most 'passive' teams are seen to be just standing around or playing one on one basketball. Portland, like many teams, often falls into this trap.
Portland needs to move the big men more. Find some way to get them the ball while they are cutting toward the basket. When ball and player move grabbing and shoving is more detectable and that will lead to getting more calls and expose refs (and defenses) who (which) aren't very good.