Blazers GM Neil Olshey sat down with CSNNW's Dwight Jaynes. Here's the interview and a transcript.
Do you expect a stylistic change in the way you guys play? Do you expect a different look -- a different style of play?
I think that's more of a question for Terry [Stotts], but I don't think so. I think within the system, it may look different. We're clearly more athletic, we maybe don't have as many shooters as we had, we don't have as many veterans, but I think we're going to get back to playing a little bit more like the way you saw year one with Terry: a lot more player movement, a lot more ball movement, motion offense, flow. I think we'll be much better in transition this year than we have in the past. We've got great athletes and finishers; we've got guys that can push the ball up the court; we've got bigs that can run, so I think you'll see some of those things start coming into how we create our offensive production, but overall, Terry was hired for this system three years ago before we became a 50-win team because what highlighted our players was a fun style to watch and it was a way to maximize the skill level of our guys. A lot of the guys we have -- their skill sets are replicated by the previous guys, but they're just younger versions.
How much do you and Terry talk about that sort of thing? Do you sit down with him and say "Well, I'd like to see you play this way" or "How are you going to play?" What kind of communication is that, or do you just say "Terry's the coach; you go coach them?"
We talk all the time. Look, I'm a coach -- I coached in the NBA, I coached high school AAU. I think Terry's a great coach and he's a terrific teacher, so I like to learn and I want to be prepared. It's important -- when you communicate with the owner, when you do address the media or the fans -- that you are along the same page. When we talk about "there's coaching and there's front office," that's on decision-making, but it's not about how we're running the organization, how we want to play. It's important for me to be aware of how we're going to play so that I know I can bring in players that will fit into the system like we did in the past. There's a reason we had a lot of guys run this roster, Dwight, that were mid-level salary players that were suddenly max-level salary players, and I don't think Terry and his coaching staff get enough credit, not just for developing them, but for highlighting their abilities within the system we played.
Do you ever sit down and say "Well, these are the guys I'd like to see you use" or "These guys, I'd like to see in the rotation" or "These guys, I'd like to see start?" Does that conversation ever happen?
It does. You look through two lenses: coaches always want to know who can help them now and front offices want to know who can help them even more than those guys in the future. We talk about it all the time. Coaches are about what guys can do, and with [the front office] it's who they can be eventually. It depends on where you are. If you're winning 54 games, you have a certain level of what you have to sublimate, in terms of development. When you're on a younger arc, you've got to play the future's game a little bit more because for us to hit our ceiling as a team, these guys need to hit their ceilings as individuals, and the way that they're going to do that is not just out there working out and in practice, but by getting game minutes. Terry and I talk about it all the time, and there's times when we don't agree, but both of us are always going to do what's best for the long-term health of the organization.