Portland Trail Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups sat for a call with Jim Rome on Friday to discuss a number of topics, from the team’s position, to Damian Lillard’s coachability, to Brittney Griner’s release.
Perhaps the freshest conversation bullet came toward the beginning, though, when Billups was candid about the difficulties of coaching, and remarked on who he, as a coach, looks up to.
Rome: How much more comfortable are you in Year Two, in the seat that you’re in right now, than you were a year ago?
Billups: Yeah, I’m a lot more comfortable now, even knowing that I still got, you know, a lot to work on, a lot to learn. But, at least coming into this year, I knew what I didn’t know. As a first-timer, you know, and that was actually only my second year of coaching – period. I was prepared as I could possibly be, but it was so much that I just didn’t know about being a head coach. This year I prepared differently. I feel better about my preparation, but this coaching thing is really, really hard and difficult. So you learn this stuff every single night, whether in your game or in watching another game, you know. You’re just learning every single night. You can never perfect it.
Rome: That tells me how hard it is because you were a coach on the floor for so, so long and had so much time to think about maybe what you might do if you ever got the opportunity. In fact, you and I talked so much during your career, you played for so many outstanding coaches, who were some of the most influential coaches that helped shape your approach to coaching right now?
Billups: Yeah, I would say one – my college coach Ricardo Patton is one of them. He was just really tough. He was honest. He loved it. Larry Brown, you know, somebody that really shaped me. As a coach, I still talk to him, he still gives me advice all the time. God rest his soul, Flip Saunders. He’s a guy that I loved playing for and I loved his style and things that he did. Rick Carlisle is another one. George Karl is another one. I just have so many, you know, legendary coaches that I was able to pull great things from and learn from.
The full interview is less than 10 minutes long and can be listened to, in full, here.