Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune has an extended article with end-of-year thoughts from Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts. Among the topics: how he doled out playing time and how the team performed defensively.
Stotts still bristles at the notion that the starters were overworked, and the wear and tear contributed to the late-season injuries.
"Those guys weren't playing any more minutes than Kevin Durant or LeBron James or a host of other players throughout the league," the Blazer mentor says. "The only difference with our team was it was four guys instead of one or two. But playing 37, 38 minutes is not a lot, especially for young players. I don't think there was a correlation between (the heavy minutes and injuries)."
"It's going to be a major focus," Stotts says. "One of our problems, we got off to a poor start defensively. Then we had a nice stretch defensively over the next 15 to 20 games. The second half, it waned.
"There will be some roster changes that will address some of that. As a coaching staff, we'll change some of our schemes and the emphasis to the way we approach defense."
But foes made 367 more 2-point baskets than the Blazers, who were fourth in the NBA in opponents' 3-point percentage but 29th in opponents' field-goal percentage.
"Maybe we need to rethink our defensive philosophy a little bit," Stotts concedes, "but we were proud we were able to defend the 3-point line so well.
Damian Lillard, Nicolas Batum and LaMarcus Aldridge all finished in the top-10 for minutes per game this season. Only 14 NBA players averaged 37+ minutes per game this season.
Portland finished tied for No. 26 in defensive efficiency this season.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter