Blazers Hire Terry Stotts as Head Coach: Was it the Right Move?

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Like many of Portland's current players, I had wanted to see interim coach Kaleb Canales named head coach of the Trail Blazers.

Owner Paul Allen felt differently, going with Dallas Mavericks assistant coach Terry Stotts. The team announced Stotts' hiring on Tuesday, nearly five full months after the firing of Nate McMillan.

"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," Blazers general manager Neil Olshey told reporters on Tuesday. "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."

Was Stotts the right pick?

We'll find out soon enough, but for now, it's hard to argue with this selection. Sure, I thought Canales' youth (he's 34) and energy (he practices with his players) would be a great fit for these young Blazers, but the 54-year-old Stotts has 17 years of NBA coaching experience, including two stints as a head coach.

For a team as green as the Blazers are going to be in 2012-13, having a veteran in the coaches' chair could wind up being a great thing.

The Oregonian newspaper reported on Tuesday that Canales would be an assistant coach under Stotts, bringing a bit of intrigue into the situation, considering the two were the only finalists for the job Stotts was awarded. Stotts will be officially introduced at a news conference Wednesday in Portland.

"I'm very pleased to be a part of a great franchise in a beautiful city with such a proud history," Stotts said, in a press release. "I look forward to working hard with Neil and our players toward the ultimate goal of bringing another championship to Portland."

For now, we'll have to avoid reading too much into Stotts' previous head-coaching forays -- he's 115-168, a .406 winning percentage, after two years each with the Atlanta Hawks (2002-04) and the Milwaukee Bucks (2005-07).

Like McMillan, Stotts didn't make it through March in his previous head-coaching gig, having been fired before the '07 season was over. A year later, he was an assistant with the Mavericks. Dallas coach Rick Carlisle has credited Stotts' offensive knowledge with helping the Mavs win the 2011 NBA championship.

Another distinction Stotts has that Canales doesn't is high-level playing experience, having starred for the Montana Golden Nuggets of the Continental Basketball Association in the 1980s, playing under coach George Karl.

Stotts later broke into coaching alongside Karl, joining his staff with the CBA's Albany Patroons in 1990 before spending five seasons coaching under Karl with the Seattle SuperSonics.

Will all that experience pay off for the young Trail Blazers as Stotts embarks on his latest coaching challenge?


Terry Stotts named Trail Blazers head coach

Terry Stotts bio


Adam Sparks has followed the Portland Trail Blazers since the early 1980s, and has written about the team as a freelancer since 2009.

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