In Billups’ second season as an NBA head coach, he guided Portland to the fifth-worst record in the league. The franchise shut down key players by the end of the season and missed the playoffs for the second consecutive year. Billups, accustomed to success during his 17-year playing career, emphasized to media today how much he hates losing and vowed the team would start progressing forward.
You know how I feel about losing - about “this” and I hope I’m never in this position again. We’re going to do everything we can to assure we’re not here again. - Billups — Jacked Ramsays’ Danny Marang.
Billups said the path to success must involve aggression from a roster-building standpoint, something Portland General Manager Joe Cronin said later in his own exit interview. Both sense small moves will no longer suffice with where Portland is in regards to Damian Lillard’s timeline.
Chauncey Billups on changes this summer: “We’ve done the ‘tweak’ thing a few times. We’ve got to do more than that this summer if we want to do right by the best player in franchise history.” — Rose Garden Report’s Sean Highkin.
With aggressive moves supposedly on the horizon, one big question heading into the off-season involves the futures of Portland’s best young talents: Anfernee Simons and Shaedon Sharpe. A team must give up somebody good to get somebody good, making Simons and Sharpe prime trade assets this summer, especially since they play the same position. Billups spoke about the two players, but didn’t speak in absolutes about their ability to coexist in Portland.
I’m not sure (if Sharpe and Simons can both be here). Those decisions will be made by people higher in the organization than me. — Marang.
Billups also talked about what went wrong during his second year on the job. Billups discussed the roster’s reliance on youth, something Damian Lillard talked about in his exit interview when he said he wanted players ready to make an impact now. The coach also pointed to lack of size, an issue that has plagued the roster since he took the job and one he thinks the franchise will remedy soon.
That’s a big thing. We lack size since I’ve been here. I think that’s something we’ll do a better job of.
We’ve had big heart from guys like Justise, but we lose the who can get there first (based on size). - Billups — Marang.
Despite a trying year that saw Portland move backwards in the standings compared to last season, players continue to voice their support for Billups. They did it again during exit interviews today with Damian Lillard, Jerami Grant and Jusuf Nurkic all endorsing their coach and his talent. Billups addressed that support and his relationship with his players:
My guys know how I am and how I feel. They know I care about winning, I’m honest with them. Over the course of the year they’re probably upset with me about something but they won’t tell you I wasn’t fair or honest with them. - Billups on having the support of his players — Marang.
Billups has three more years left on his five-year contract with Portland. The Blazers hold a team-option in the fifth year.