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Is Chauncey Billups an NBA Coach Of The Year Candidate?

The Oregonian’s Aaron Fentress discusses Billups candidacy and the pending debut of Gary Payton II.

Brooklyn Nets v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

The Oregonian’s Aaron Fentress joined the Fast Break podcast to discuss the current state of the Portland Trail Blazers this week.

With Brett Siegel, the pair discussed a range of topics including the possible Coach of the Year candidacy of Blazers Head Coach Chauncey Billups.

Siegel: Do you think Chauncey Billups could enter the Coach of the Year conversation this season given the early success of this team? I mean, if they can sustain success with Lillard being out and they can remain where they are in the Western Conference, I think you have to consider him in this conversation, especially if they reach their projected win total of just about 50 wins given their current pace

Fentress: Yeah, I mean if they win 50 games, I think Billups is definitely a Coach of the Year candidate. I’m not going to say for sure that he is going to get it, but the West is crazy. Portland was in first-place, then they were tied for first and now they were just in eighth even though they have just one less loss than the team in second right now. That is how fragile this whole thing is right now. I do not know if they will ultimately get to that 50-win mark, but yes. If Portland finishes as the 4-seed or better in the Western Conference, I think Chauncey is definitely a Coach of the Year candidate.

They also touched on the soon-to-be long-awaited debut of defensive specialist Gary Payton II who helped the Golden State Warriors to June’s NBA Championship.

Fentress: Who wouldn’t expect a team to be better defensively without one of their best defensive players right? Seriously though, I think Payton’s impact though is going to be just having someone that can play 20-25 minutes a game who is going to give opposing team’s best players the business. He’s such a nuisance for teams to try and deal with and Portland’s backcourt defense with Dame and Anfernee is improved, but they are still pretty much negative defenders. To have someone like Payton come off-the-bench and aid this team defensively in the backcourt will be a luxury for Portland. In terms of him returning, who knows because he was supposed to be ready for the preseason and then he was supposed to be ready for opening week. We are already a month into the season and he’s still not necessarily ready to go. The word is that he is close to returning, but they are waiting for him to get over the hump and be able to do certain things without any soreness whatsoever.

You can listen to the discussion here.