Playoffs 2018 West First Round: Blazers (3) vs. Pelicans (6)
Report: Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts faces questions after first-round sweep
NBA.com staff reports
Is Terry Stotts of the Blazers in trouble? After Portland was swept by the Pelicans out of the first round, a surprise for sure, the job status of Stotts suddenly became a question.
Marc Stein of the New York Times wrote how there was “buzz around the league” that losing so drastically to the Pelicans could cost Stotts his job, given that the Blazers were the No. 3 seed and have now lost 10 straight post-season games.
The mumurs have already started In coaching circles that 10 consecutive playoffs defeats will cost Terry Stotts his job in Portland, but league sources say Orlando would register immediate interest in Stotts if he becomes available
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) April 22, 2018
Blazers GM Neil Olshey spend lavishly on mediocre talent two years ago but that talent was young and the Blazers wanted to give it time to grow. During the season, Damian Lillard, the Blazers’ leading scorer, had meetings with ownership about the direction of the club, and then the Blazers finished strong and those issues seemingly subsided. Until now.
The Blazers have severe salary cap restrictions after a spending spree two summers ago, so unless something drastic happens, there won’t be any massive personnel changes this summer. That doesn’t mean there won’t be a fallout of some sorts, and it may come on the Blazers’ bench. Here’s how Kyle Newport of Bleacher Report sizes up the situation:
Despite piling up wins in the regular season, which includes a pair of 50-win seasons and two division titles, Stotts has not had much success in the postseason. His Blazers have won just two playoff series in his six years on the job and have won just three games total in the five series from which they were eliminated.
Whether it’s fair or not, the coach becomes a target when a team underachieves. After averaging 26.9 points on 43.9 percent shooting during the regular season, All-Star Damian Lillard averaged just 18.5 points on 35.2 percent shooting against the Pelicans. Most teams would have a hard time winning when their best player struggles, regardless of the coaching.
Stotts, 60, broke into the NBA as an assistant coach with the Seattle SuperSonics back in 1994-95. He has been a part of six organizations, running the show in Atlanta and Milwaukee in addition to Portland. He has a career record of 387-388 in 10 years as a head coach.
With his team sent home earlier than expected, Stotts now must await his fate.