Up until this year I honestly was not a huge Nate fan.
I never could stand his rotations, his emotionless sideline demeanor, and his reluctance to adjust his offensive schema to include more ball movement. But things have definitely changed this year and I think Nate probably looked within himself and realized that he needed to grow as a coach himself and admit that maybe the way he was managing the team wasn't working.
I think he had help though. I think that with the additions of Williams and Bickerstaff to his coaching staff, I would imagine that he felt he had assistants that he could draw knowledge from rather than younger assistants like Williams who he had to bestow knowledge onto. I think he had help in that he finally had a handful of veterans on the team like Miller and Camby, so he wasn't constantly having to be the teacher, and he could focus more on strategy. Now that the team is past the "re-building" stage, I think Nate is more comfortable playing the role that he has always wanted to play...the general; leading his team of seasoned soldiers into combat.
So for this I am putting my earlier feeling about Nate aside and I think at this point he IS the right coach for the job.
I'm glad though that they only gave him a two-year extension though because I'm still not convinced that he has been the best coach for a team that is in a "re-building" stage. He doesn't trust his younger players and it shows, which in turn seems to have them loose confidence in themselves. If the Blazers unfortunately had to go through another re-building phase in the next 5 years, I would imagine that they would end up parting ways with Nate.
This is exactly why I would say that Nate is NOT on Sloan's level yet. To persevere with a single team for that long you have to be able to adjust your coaching style throughout the peaks and valleys over the years. Now Sloan did always have pretty solid talent, so I suppose that maybe it's not a fair comparison. I mean, Sloan never had a Sergio Rodriguez, or a Travis Outlaw, of a Jerryd Bayless to deal with, but never-the-less the Jazz had to have had some years of re-building throughout his tenor. But did you never really noticed those years?
So I guess what I'm really saying is that while I'm starting to see Nate show signs that he could one day be as successful as a guy like Sloan, I think he has a long way to go. I'm glad that he is here now though, and the team is really buying into his strategy right now so hopefully that will last for at least another 4-5 years.