That’s because the Trail Blazers, according to HOOPSWORLD, are close to making a decision:
The Trail Blazers’ coaching search has been pared to four finalists: Terry Stotts, Elston Turner, Steve Clifford and Kaleb Canales, The Oregonian has learned.
It’s certainly not the sexiest group of names, but teams have proven (ahem, Miami Heat) in the past you don’t always need a Hall of Fame coach to have success.
Let’s take a look at the potential candidates.
Stotts has the most head coaching experience of anyone on the final list and it’s not even close.
The 54-year-old has been working as an assistant with the successful Dallas Mavericks since 2008, but before that he put in some work as the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks (2002-2004) and Milwaukee Bucks (2005-2007).
While he never had a ton of talent to work with, Stotts’ record as a head honcho isn’t pretty: 115-168 (.406 winning percentage). The former Rocket did get a 40-win season out of the Bucks in 2005-06, but he failed to surpass 20 wins in his other three seasons (24-31 in half of a season with the Hawks in 2002-03).
Stotts may bring experience, but the chances of him being a “home run” signing are slim.
Besides being the father of one of my least favorite University of Washington basketball players of the past few years, Elston Turner has a solid resume.
He spent 14 years playing in the NBA, so his knowledge of the game won’t be questioned by anyone. Neither will his coaching experience, as Turner spent six years as an assistant with the Sacramento Kings, four with the Blazers (hello) and six more with the Houston Rockets.
Turner, who is known as a defensive mastermind, has been interviewed for plenty of head coaching vacancies in the past few years, but has never been hired.
Don’t be surprised if this is the year that happens.
I think Turner has a real shot at grabbing the job.
Clifford, like Turner, doesn’t have any head coaching experience, but he has been a coach for a long time.
After more than 10 years of experience at the collegiate level, he spent time with the Houston Rockets, New York Knicks and Orlando Magic, always working under one of the Van Gundy brothers.
While Turner is viewed as a defensive savant, Clifford is more of a mentor and a teacher, someone who will get the most out of his players.
Then, of course, you have Canales, who served as the interim coach last season, racking up an 8-15 record.
The record doesn’t tell the story, however, as Canales is a real favorite of the players.
Before becoming the interim head coach, he worked as an assistant in Portland for four seasons, developing solid relationships with the players.
Those relationships, of course, are a lot easier to develop for Canales because is young (34) and knows how to relate with the guys.
It would be surprising if he was turned down.
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