Sean Highkin of Portland Roundball Society wonders whether Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts and GM Neil Olshey are in agreement on the short rotation being used early in the season.
To this outside observer, there appears to be a pretty sizeable disconnect between Neil Olshey and Terry Stotts regarding the goals for this season. Since Olshey took over as general manager, he has beaten the drum of gathering assets and maintaining cap flexibility. His desired model is one of sustainable success. He wants no part of the not-quite-playoffs not-quite-high-lottery middle ground, and nor should he. Since coming up empty in his attempt to sign Roy Hibbert in July, not once has he mentioned making the playoffs this season as a serious possibility.
Olshey wants his young talent to grow and develop, preferably while playing its way into one more high draft pick to add to the Lillard/Batum/Aldridge core. Winning too many games this season becomes doubly dangerous when you consider that Charlotte (by way of the Gerald Wallace trade) owns Portland's 2013 first-round pick if it falls outside the top 12. For a team that isn't in the playoff race this year, losing their draft pick would be, if not deadly, at least not at all ideal. The incentive to tank is very real, and Olshey rightly understands it.
Stotts has different ideas. It's understandable that he's seemingly trying to make the playoffs this season. When Olshey hired Stotts, the former Mavericks assistant came with a strong endorsement from Rick Carlisle. But to the general public, he's still largely viewed as a mediocre head coach due to his mixed track record with the Hawks and Bucks in the mid-2000s. This isn't an entirely fair perception, as Stotts has proven so far in Portland to be a much more creative offensive strategist than Nate McMillan ever was. But part of me wonders if part of Stotts' motivation to put this team in the playoff race is to shake his own less-than-stellar reputation.
I posted some extended thoughts on the bench here.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter