In likely his final article for the Oregonian before moving to CSNNW, writer Jason Quick has penned a lengthy article on the efforts of Portland Trail Blazers Head Coach Terry Stotts to define basketball by a style rather than a particular group of talent. "Blazers Basketball", typified by ball and player movement, is the emphasis as Portland transitions from a familiar lineup of steady veterans to a roster full of untried and unfamiliar players.
So what's Stotts' secret? In a league that trends toward clear-outs and individual play, how does he get a team to play so seamlessly, so together?
It starts in training camp.
He keeps the first weeks of practices simple. The agenda is heavy on skills and light on X's and O's. The plays he does implement are not designed for a player or a certain shot. Instead, they are reliant upon passing and making reads to discover the best shot.
"I really enjoy plays where you don't know where the shot is going to come from, because it's a play based on cuts and screens and reads and passing,'' Stotts said.
Quick also details Stotts' familiar habit of ringing a bell during practice when he sees plays he likes and the "ringing" endorsement given to him by his players, especially Damian Lillard.
"As long as I am here,'' Lillard said, "I would like him to be here.''
"If I have a tough game, the first person to walk on this (practice) court the next day and sit next to me is him,'' Lillard said. "And he's asking me, 'What can I do? Is everything all right? You seem frustrated.' It makes it easier to express yourself to him. I love him as a coach.''
Stotts is in the final year of his contract with the Blazers.
There's much more in the article. It's worth a read. Good luck to Jason Quick as he switches teams himself.