Casey Holdahl found a link to an SI interview with Coach McMillan. Since the story has been up at Oregonlive since yesterday and having referred you to Casey's link to SI (feel free to click though to both) I'm now going to shamelessly repeat the quotes that Casey cited:
"Every team has to pay its dues,'' general manager Kevin Pritchard said. "We have to be patient, and we hope the fans are, too.''
Said McMillan: "Every day, we feel it. Every day, we feel that loss [of Oden], and rightfully so. We know the direction we want to take this team. It will take some time. If we just go by [the fans], we would trade everybody that we have.''
Crazily, McMillan wonders if he might be around long enough to reap what he and the Blazers, through back-breaking, on-hands-and-knees work, are sowing. "I may be the coach who gets this team into position where they're ready to go,'' he said, "and somebody else comes in to take them there.''
That last part especially struck me as sad. Any way you look at it (except financially) Nate has been stuck with a bunch of crappiness since he got here. His teams the last two years were mismatched and just plain bad. Plus he's a stand-up guy and he got saddled with jerks, which can't have been fun. Nevertheless according to BasketballReference.com the team exceeded its expected win totals both years.
Now Nate gets to start over with a bunch of decent, hard-working guys. But his team is crippled and his players are young and inexperienced. We start the season with three losses against almost certain playoff-bound teams and he's taking more crap.
Maybe Nate does have some coaching issues, but all of the following are more certain than that in my view:
--People got excited over the summer and overrated the team's chances and underestimated the time it would take to grow and gel. When this happens the coach always takes a ton of blame because it's easier for people to do that than to say, "Hey...I was wrong about how good my favorite team is."
--People also overrate the ability of our bench and the importance of getting those guys more playing time and/or trying different combinations.
--When we lost the game to Houston on Saturday we were just about 100 hours into the season and people were analyzing (and wanting to make decisions) like we were 50 games in.
--Lost in the 0-3 streak is the fact that the team has changed, does look better, and there are several positive things to point to (Martell, for the most part Brandon and Lamarcus, Joel's extra speed, better offense overall...just for obvious starters).
So for today only we're starting a Nate-Positive thread. I want to know what you like about Nate and his coaching style and why you're glad he's coaching this team. For those who don't like Nate as much maybe you can think of at least one thing you do like. But if you can't then just hold off on commenting for a day. You know there will be plenty more days and more chances to critique him. No sarcasm, no twisting a positive into a negative, no damning with faint praise, just honest reasons why you appreciate Coach McMillan for one day, one thread.
P.S. No fair starting a "Why I Don't Like Nate" diary today either. Again, we'll have a hundred chances to hear that stuff as the season goes by but coaches seldom get complete praise...even the good ones. Let this be the day.
P.P.S. If we get enough quality responses I will forward this to the Blazers as I did with the "Congratulations Kevin Pritchard" post after he was named GM.