The Portland Trail Blazers have filled the final coaching vacancy in the NBA by appointing Terry Stotts as the team’s head-coach on Tuesday.
The 54-year-old brings with him a wealth of experience, an offensive style of play and a championship ring. Taking over a team in disarray, Stotts has the chance to build a team based around his vision.
Within the list of candidates, Stotts’ main challenger and the man he replaced as coach was Kaleb Canales. Following Nate McMillan’s firing Canales took over as interim coach, going 8-15 with the team and, after seven year’s with the club, was seen as the obvious heir.
Blazers’ owner Paul Allen interviewed both men for the job over the weekend at the London Olympics and settled on Stotts due, in part, to his resume.
After assistant jobs with the Seattle SuperSonics and the Milwaukee Bucks, Stotts got his first head-coaching role at the Atlanta Hawks in 2002.
Following two years at the Philips Arena he returned to Milwaukee as head-coach where a bad run resulted in his firing in 2007. A year later he became assistant coach of the Dallas Mavericks, helping them on their way to an NBA championship.
“Terry is one of the elite offensive minds in the NBA, has extensive experience with multiple organizations and was instrumental in the Dallas Mavericks winning the 2011 NBA championship,” said general manager Neil Olshey.
“He understands the vision for the future of the franchise, appreciates the process involved and will create an environment on the court that will produce championship habits.”
With a head-coaching record that stands at 115-168 (.406 winning percentage) though, the former Golden Nugget has certainly got some areas to improve.
He takes over a team that drastically disappointed fans last year, tallying a record of 28-38 while starting the rebuilding process the squad desperately needed.
Stotts becomes the 14th coach in the Trail Blazers’ history and will be relying on big-men LeMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum to be team leaders if he is to achieve any success during his tenure.
“I’m very pleased to be part of a great franchise in a beautiful city with a such proud history,” Stotts said in a news release. “I look forward to working hard with Neil and our players towards the ultimate goal of bringing another championship to Portland.”
A number of Portland players were openly lobbying for Canales to be hired as the full-time head coach but, with a championship ring already in-tow, player opinions are quickly developing into anticipation.
“Initially, I was a little shocked,” said Portland’s guard Wesley Matthews. “I thought Kaleb was definitely going to get that job. But after talking to Neil and hearing his reasons, I’m excited.
“Coach Stotts brings championship experience and I think that’s hugs. That’s somewhere we see ourselves in the near-near future.”
Stotts is known mostly for his focus on offensive play, having helped develop dynamic offensive schemes for players such as Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry during his four seasons with the Mavericks.
His Dallas team averaged 100 points or more during his first three years as assistant coach and with the Blazers’ averaging less than 100 ppg every season since 1995, Stotts will have to shake things up a little.
How quickly he is able to turn Portland into a contender is hard to tell but with an offensive guru at the helm and a young team eager to impress, things are certainly on the up at the Rose Garden.