Unlike Willie Green in New Orleans, Chauncey Billups will not make the playoffs for his first season as coach. The former Pistons point guard was not spoiled for his “rookie” season since Damian Lillard quickly threw in the towel, then imitated by Jusuf Nurkic, while the franchise separated from CJ McCollum and Larry Nance Jr. all in an atmosphere of scandal after the revelations about the management methods of GM Neil Olshey.
His first months were difficult, but the new Blazers coach also allowed the emergence of Anfernee Simons and his message seems to be getting through to the group. That’s the gist as the team finished the season coasting with a spanking record.
One more asset alongside Damian Lillard
But this campaign must soon be forgotten, and as Damian Lillard said during his end-of-season interview, Portland is ready to move forward. To achieve this, the “front office” will have to attract a star in its nets. This is the condition sine qua non to prevent Damian Lillard from asking for a transfer. Olympic champion alongside Damian Lillard, Jerami Grant would be the first player targeted by the Oregon franchise, which has undoubtedly developed several B plans if necessary.
To achieve its ends, Portland will now be able to rely on the reputation of Chauncey Billups since he is presented as a coach close to his players.
“His reputation as a player speaks for itself”said Anfernee Simons in particular. “He went through all of that. He knows what every player on the team is going through because he’s been in all those situations. He is therefore the ideal coach to play and learn”.
Beyond his aura, Chauncey Billups also knows the inner workings of the offseason and how his players will be his first sales reps. “When a player is targeted, they end up calling our own players. I’ve been there, I know how it goes.
But above all, the coach wants to put his work ethic forward, one that will be likely to advance a player of the caliber of Jerami Grant, or another, able to bring a new dimension to his Blazers. With him, there will be no privileges, and only work will pay.
“I am one of the people who think that even very great players want to be coached”he confided. “Whether they say it or not, everyone wants to be coached, because most players want to be great players. Most of them really want to win. Just because a guy is already strong doesn’t mean he can’t reach a new, even higher one. I do not believe it. So, I will coach everyone. And I will make sure that everyone takes their responsibilities. And I think all of our guys have figured that out this year and learned to appreciate that.”
A course of action that will perhaps attract a big name to help put the Blazers in the right direction.
|Larry Nance, Jr.||37||23.2||51.5||30.6||65.3||1.6||4.1||5.6||2.0||0.7||1.0||0.4||1.8||6.9|
|Greg Brown Iii||48||13.3||42.6||31.1||67.7||0.8||2.0||2.8||0.7||0.8||0.5||0.5||1.9||4.7|