Terry Stotts

Trail Blazers hire Terry Stotts as head coach


Terry Stotts, the former coach of the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks, has been hired as the new head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers, the team and general manager Neil Olshey have announced.

It’s a nice hiring. Not thrilling, but nice. He’ll do a solid job. His most recent gig was as an assistant coach for the Dallas Mavericks, and he got a ring out of that.

“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,” Olshey said in a released statement. “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.”

Stotts beat out Kaleb Canales, who took over as the Blazers interim coach when they fired Nate McMillan last season. That would be Nate McMillan Team USA assistant coach they didn’t need any more.

Stotts’ overall record as a head coach is 115-168, but frankly that’s more an incitement of the talent he was given to work with than his coaching. Stotts can coach — and by all accounts is a good, honest guy — but to me he kind of fits into my category of most NBA coaches: They are smart and can get their teams to perform up to a fairly high percentage of the talent they are given. (There are only a handful of genuinely exceptional coaches that improve a team just by walking in the door.)

Which is to say the future of the Blazers is more about Olshey and his moves that Stotts. But it will be interesting to see what he brings to an offense with LaMarcus Aldridge, rookie Damian Lillard and some other genuine but young talent on it.

Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver

Manu Ginobili, Harrison Barnes, Tim Duncan
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The Spurs are 12-3 and comfortably in second place in the West, they have the best defense in the NBA allowing just 93.8 points per 100 possessions, and they have a top-10 offense to go with it.

So, time to start making sure guys are rested.

That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.

Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.

What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.

Brandon Armstrong impersonates Ray Allen (video)

2014 NBA Finals - Game Five
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Ray Allen is retired-ish, but he’ll always be running through screens – in our mind and in this video.

Celtics draft pick Marcus Thornton gets beer dumped on head during Australian game (video)

Marcus Thornton, Will Cherry

The Celtics drafted Marcus Thornton with No. 45 pick in the 2015 NBA draft. That essentially entitled him to the required tender – a one-year contract offer, surely unguaranteed at the minimum.

Thornton rejected that, which is almost always a mistake.

Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.

By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.

Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.

How’s that going?

(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.

Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks

Kobe Bryant, Joe Johnson, Byron Scott

Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.

Kobe shotchart season

So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.

They just need to get Kobe better looks, Scott told the Los Angeles Times.

“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….

“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.

“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”

Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.

Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.