Now eliminated, the Portland Trail Blazers experienced unexpectedly rousing success in 2015-16, so much so that they caught the attention of one LeBron James. After the Cleveland Cavaliers' practice on Thursday, James suggested that for the team’s unprecedented achievements, Blazers head coach Terry Stotts would have been a good pick for Coach of the Year.
"From the outside looking in, I think Terry Stotts should have been or could have been Coach of the Year. I can't remember the last time that I've seen a team lose four starters and still be in the same position as far as the postseason success they had. I mean they lost [Nicolas] Batum, they lost [Wesley] Matthews, they lost Robin [Lopez] and they lost LaMarcus [Aldridge] in the off-season and the only returning starter was Dame [Lillard]."
James also noted, per Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com, that Lillard is an All-Star and that McCollum is a "stud."
"Dame is an All-Star," James said. "Even though he wasn't on the team, he's an All-Star. C.J. obviously is a stud being from here, the Canton area. Of course he's a stud. I thought Terry Stotts did a great job. They had a great season."
The words of one man do not a monument make, but they are a nice cherry on top of the 44-win monument the Blazers built themselves in the Rip City. The regular season stunners and post-season underdogs captured the attention of national viewers and the respect of their peers alike.