Portland Trail Blazers Head Coach Terry Stotts shoulders the blame for the Blazers’ disappointing 2020-21 campaign, according to an article by Dwight Jaynes of NBCSports Northwest. Claiming a lack of leadership in the locker room, Jaynes suggests that All-Star point guard Damian Lillard “needs help” and he’ll get it soon in the form of a new head coach.
As evidence, Jaynes cites the Nuggets, who ousted the Blazers in 6 games despite injuries to guards Jamal Murray and Will Barton. He also references the success of the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns thus far in the 2021 NBA Playoffs.
He criticizes Stotts for not using his roster wisely, especially the younger members. He uses the yo-yo seasons (and playing time) of forwards Derrick Jones, Jr. and Nassir Little—plus the under-utilization of guard Anfernee Simons—as examples.
Then Jaynes sweeps to his conclusion:
Stotts has always been known as a players’ coach. He is, by all accounts, very easy to play for. And sometimes players take advantage of such coaches. He finds players he likes, puts them in a rotation and lets them go — seldom making adjustments from quarter to quarter or even game to game. His team has been predictable to a fault.
His two best players take more than 50 percent of the team’s shots, yet other players are supposed to cover for them at the defensive end.
I do not believe Stotts will return next season and I do believe this roster deserves a chance to make progress under a new, innovative and more-demanding head coach.
The Trail Blazers are holding exit interviews today. No news has yet come out regarding Stotts’ fate, though the coach himself has spoken about his approach to the apparent job insecurity.