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Deveney: Praise Nate McMillan For Blazers' Pace Adjustment

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Sean Deveney of the Sporting News writes that Portland Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan deserves credit for overseeing a wholesale change in his team's tempo this year. ------------------------------ Let’s start by giving credit where it is due—to Portland coach Nate McMillan, who has plucked a little bit from San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich and a tad from Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni, and, so far this season, has come out looking better than either. One of the common problems with NBA coaches is that they come imbued with systems, with preconceived notions of what they want to run, no matter the personnel. We’ve seen that with D’Antoni’s lightning-fast offense, ill-suited to the players he has in New York. Popovich, on the other hand, recognizing that the league is changing and Tim Duncan is aging, has transformed the Spurs from a grind-it-out type of team into a running, offensive group. Through five games, including Tuesday’s impressive win in Oklahoma City, McMillan has shown a willingness to do what Popovich has done with the Spurs, adding some D’Antoni-ness to his team and getting his team to run, score and play pretty good defense all the while—something neither Popovich nor D’Antoni has quite been able to accomplish. Because of that, in a watered-down West, Portland has to be considered a darkhorse contender. ------------------------------ -- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter
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