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Juwan Howard Inspired to Coach by Experience in Portland

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According to Brendan Quinn of the Athletic, Howard became a player-coach during his time with the Trail Blazers.

Phoenix Suns v Portland Trail Blazers Game 6 Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

How Juwan Howard helped guide younger Portland Trail Blazers players is detailed in a piece by the Athletic’s Brendan Quinn. According to Quinn, Howard came to Portland to provide guidance to both LaMarcus Aldridge and Greg Oden, and in the process, developed an interest in coaching.

It looked like Howard had shed his last skin when, entering 2009-10, Portland called. Nate McMillan needed a reliable, veteran to add depth and mentor young bigs LaMarcus Aldridge and Greg Oden. Until then, Howard thought his post-playing future would be in an NBA front office. Watching McMillan operate, though, Howard reimagined himself. He went from a veteran trying to crack the rotation to a quasi player-coach role, evolving into a translator between his teammates and the coaches, and a mediator between the coaches and his teammates.

“And he wasn’t told to do that,” McMillan says. “That was just Juwan. It’s his ability to communicate with people. Coaching is in him. Teaching is in him. It just came really naturally. He took that role on because that’s who he is.”

Howard is currently in his first season as the coach at the University of Michigan. Though Howard only played one season in Portland, he left an indelible mark on Greg Oden, who is now coaching himself.

You can read the entire piece here.