The Portland Trail Blazers signed Steve Blake to three separate free-agent contracts during his thirteen-year playing career, making the Rose City home base for the journeyman point guard. They won’t have to bother with that process this time around. Today Blake returned to the Blazers as a coaching intern, learning the ropes for the next phase of his basketball journey.
Blake’s appearance at Training Camp was picked up by several sources.
Former Blazers PG Steve Blake with the team this season as a coaching intern. pic.twitter.com/56Fi1KcHZL— Jason Quick (@jwquick) September 26, 2017
Stotts pointed out that Blake, like any intern, is limited in the number of hours he can work. https://t.co/Tddtf4sPoN— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) September 26, 2017
When questioned about Blake’s potential contributions, Trail Blazers Head Coach Terry Stotts had this to say:
Steve’s an intern. The fact that he has the ability to go out there and defend guys and play... Brian Barkdoll does it with our big guys; Steve will have that ability. I’ve always appreciated the players’ point of view, so in the coaches’ meetings I’ll ask him his opinion of something because he has a unique perspective and I respect that...
Asked how the arrangement came about, Stotts responded:
He started coming in in September and we’ve had meetings the last couple weeks. He’s been involved in those...
He expressed interest in getting into coaching but he wasn’t ready to commit to a full-time thing, so it is an internship, his hours are limited, but I think it’s a good way for him to transition into coaching and figure out if it’s something he wants to do.
Damian Lillard also weighed in on the benefits of having Blake in house:
I think having Steve around is good because he’s a guy that, it comes from a different lens than the coaches. They’re telling it as kind of enforcers, like, “You should have been here. You should have done this. This is what we want.” Steve is more...him teaching. He wants to see you improve. He wants to see you do better. He’s also a vet. He played, how many years? Twelve or thirteen years? And he’s been a starter. He’s played good minutes as a backup, on winning teams, on losing teams. Just having him in there, I think it’s really helpful for our players, for him to not be a coach, but a guy you have to respect his opinion and his thoughts. And for me a guy that I played with, a guy who’s played my position, so there’s a lot that I can use him for as well...
Lillard also commented on Blake getting out on the floor with the players.
When we were playing pickup before we started camp, he would get out there and play with us. But I played in a few pickups just around town with Steve too, so it was like we’ve been connected over this summer. In previous summers me and him would come here and play one-on-one too. For two hours we’d play one-on-one from spots. He’s still in shape and it’s good to see him being around.