Coaching Search Begins With An Emphasis On Defense

After coming into the 2019-20 season, one that would be postponed midway due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with rather lofty goals, the Portland Trail Blazers entered the 2020-21 campaign with much more sedate expectations: improve considerably on the defensive end, win a playoff series..

They did neither, finishing the season 29th in defensive rating and losing to the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the 2021 Playoffs in six games. And in the end, the combination cost Terry Stotts his job, one he had held for the last nine seasons.

The team announced Friday night that they had mutually agreed to part ways with Stotts, who had led the Trail Blazers to a 402-318 record over since taking head coaching position back in 2012, and on Monday, Trail Blazers president of basketball operations explained why.

“I think we reached a ceiling with the team,” said Olshey. “We entered the season and we really felt like we needed to show improvement on the defensive end of the floor, we need to advance in the playoffs and the decision was pretty much made. We were 26th in defense prior to (Jusuf Nurkic) and CJ (McCollum) being injured, we bounced back a little bit after we got Norm and we were 21st the rest of the year. And then we were 15th in the playoffs out of 16 first-round teams.

“So we didn’t make improvement there and we lost in the first…

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