The day after the Portland Trail Blazers’ disappointing loss to the Miami Heat, coach Terry Stotts joined Brian Wheeler for his inaugural Bleav in Blazers podcast.
The 32-minute discussion touched on a number of issues facing the team, from Jusuf Nurkic’s return to the way he approaches his relationship with the media.
After highlighting the Blazers’ highs and lows over the past week, Wheeler prodded Stotts on Nurkic’s comments after Sunday’s Heat loss, claiming the team wasn’t “on the same page defensively and playing too selfish offensively.”
“I think after a game like that, there’s no question that you can see where there are areas to improve.”
“I think from a defensive standpoint, our struggles have been well chronicled throughout the year. We have to get better, having Nurk back has helped and it well help going forward, once he’s able to play his full minutes.”
“Offensively, I struggle with it, because we’ve been a top seven offensive team all year, the style of play it’s not one right now with a lot of passing and movement, we’re in the bottom with assists.”
“We can do a better job passing but at the same time, we’ve had a good offence all year, so it’s a little contradictory at times and it’s something we’re dealing with.”
Stotts talked about his relationship with the media and how he combats the highs of a win with the disappointment of a loss.
“I don’t use the media to get my point across to players, I like to keep things in house.”
“Sometimes I’m criticized for not throwing players under the bus or not using the media to get a point across. I know other coaches have done that, that’s just not my style.”
“I usually go into a media session with kind of an open mind, knowing though that the questions are going to be tougher after losses and everybody’s probably is going to be in a good mood after wins.”
The coach raved about the addition of Norman Powell, highlighting that despite the fact that Gary Trent Jr. was no longer in Blazers’ colors, the team was better.
“I really like Norman, I think he’s been a good fit for our team on both ends of the floor. In the short time he’s been here, I think he’s established himself as a very good defender for us and also a third option offensively.”
“He’s shown that he can get to the basket, he can shoot threes, he can get to the free throw line from an offensive standpoint. And defensively, he has very good fundamentals, he comes from a good system in Toronto, obviously they won a championship.”
“He came into this league as a defender and his offence came around, so I think it’s been a very good addition for us.”
“Norman is a really good player and as much as we will miss Gary Trent and he’s playing very well in Toronto, I don’t think there’s any question that Norman has made us a better team.”
He quickly expressed his dislike of the NBA’s buyout system before highlighting how Rondae Hollis-Jefferson will impact the team.
“I don’t think that the buyout situation is going to go anywhere, I’m personally not a fan it, but I don’t have a solution for it.” 17 minutes.”
“He’s (Hollis-Jefferson) an established player, we know what he can bring, particularly at the defensive end, I think it’s a little early to say what his role and what his future is with the team.”
“He gives us some insurance policy when teams go small and we need a perimeter defender, a guy who will do some dirty work, get some rebounds, make some hustle plays, there’s always a place for guys like that.
Wheeler asks whether there will be more Damian Lillard load management throughout April and May.
“I think it depends on what you call load management. A lot of time, people say load management is taking games off, which he did, he didn’t play that against Orlando. He rested that game, he was kind of nursing an injury.”
“For me, load management is more about off days, not having practices, taking the load off in between games.”
“I think everyone knows Dame doesn’t like to miss games and he wants to play his normal minutes so a lot of that we leave that up to him, but certainly we are aware of it.”
You can listen to the full podcast here.