Tag: coaching hot seat

Indiana Pacers v Portland Trail Blazers

Blazers president, players back Nate McMillan

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It doesn’t sound like Nate McMillan is going anywhere.

After a weekend of speculation that Nate McMillan’s seat was getting warm after a slow start for the Trail Blazers and a recent six-game losing streak, team president Larry Miller threw water on that fire.

Miller went on 95.5 FM in Portland’s pregame show and sounded like a man not rushing to make any moves (transcription via Blazers Edge).

We’re going through a little bit of a struggle right now. But I’m confident that Nate and the coaching staff and the team will get this turned around. And we’ll get back on track. Teams go through this. The Lakers just lost four games in a row. Teams go through these struggles sometimes and I would just want to make sure the fans will be there with us….

They are playing hard. They are giving effort out there. To your point, they’re scrapping, they’re fighting. For some reason, we haven’t been able to execute in the fourth quarter. It’s not for lack of trying. If that were the case, I’d be looking at this like, ‘Hey we’ve got a really, really serious problem.’ It’s not for lack of trying. They’re trying. Just the execution hasn’t been there….

I’ve been talking to Nate, he’s hanging in there, he’s doing everything he can to turn this thing around. To me, Nate is one of the best coaches in the league, without question he’s one of the best coaches in the league, and we’re fortunate to have him as our head coach here. Again, I’m confident Nate is going to figure out how to get this turned around. He’s in a pretty good mood, he’s in pretty good spirits as well as can be expected, he’s doing good.

I’m not convinced the effort has been quite as consistent as Miller said, but certainly other issues have been far bigger. Like injuries to stars. And that has impacted the execution.

Several players also told the Oregonian that McMillan was not the problem and had not lost the team.

“He still has us. Just look at us, we are still playing hard, trying to win,” (Lamarcus) Aldridge said. “If he didn’t have us, then guys wouldn’t compete. I would say guys are competing, we just aren’t finishing games. Do you agree? Because if he didn’t have us, there would be teams scoring layups, everybody taking bad shots … I mean, if the coach doesn’t have the respect in here, you are not going to play hard.”

“Yeah, I heard something that he said we are not listening to him … I say bull,” Batum said. “We trust him. We’ve had success with him. Fifty wins. Fifty-four wins. Sometimes when you lose, you hear ‘It’s his fault. It’s his fault.’ But no. We believe in him. He has tried to keep a fire in us. And we have been up 10 in all these games we lost. So we believe in him. Trust me. Trust me.”

Put it all together and it sounds like the Blazers are not rushing to make a move. That doesn’t mean something wouldn’t be considered if the Blazers go back to their losing ways, or next summer. But for now, nothing is changing in Portland.

Nate McMillan admits he may not be reaching Blazers, a step on the road to unemployment

Phoenix Suns v Portland Trail Blazers - Game 6
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Sunday night the Blazers are getting healthy at the expense of the Los Angeles Clippers, which is a good team to get healthy against. It will snap a six-game losing streak that has seen some ugly play out a Blazers team many thought would rebound this season.

There are injury issues in Portland — Gregg Oden and Brandon Roy have no good knees between them — but that doesn’t explain the lackluster efforts. Coach Nate McMillan admitted he might be part of the issue to the Oregonian, describing a conversation after the team’s Friday loss to the Wizards.

“Evidently, they’re not responding to me, because all these games look similar,” McMillan said. “So I asked them: ‘Is it clear what we’re asking you to do?'”

His words were met with blank states and silence

“They didn’t say anything,” McMillan said. “The thing is, they didn’t have to say anything. I think the games show that. We’re not getting it done.”

This comment from Brandon Roy isn’t helpful either.

“Everybody’s at a loss for words,” Roy said. “Coach (Nate McMillan), he doesn’t know what to say to us. And we don’t know what to say to one another.”

There have been people such as the Oregonian’s John Canzano who have suggested that McMillan’s coaching seat is getting pretty hot. It may well be because this has been a disappointing season for the Blazers and they can’t just fire the players to shake things up.

McMillan can coach, but sometimes after a while teams start to tune coaches out. A new voice can deliver the same message but in a different way and it gets through. Sometimes that is needed. It may be getting close to that time in Portland, unless they can play the Clippers every night.

Could Portland's Nate McMillan really be on the hot seat? Yes, yes he can.

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nmcmillan.jpgNate McMillan has been at the helm of a basketball renaissance in Portland. This was a team that won 21 games his first year with a roster led by Zach Randolph and Darius Miles — a roster that needed an overhaul. That overhaul came and so did the wins (and a better reputation).

Two years ago they won 54 games and were seen as the upstart team that would threaten the Lakers soon. Last season they won 50 games and made the playoffs despite a swarm of injuries.

Yet while most of the nation thinks McMillan can do no wrong, there are plenty of Blazers fans that want him gone. His teams play at a dreadfully slow pace (slowest in the NBA last year at 90 possessions a game) that may not best utilize their talents, and there was questionable handling of Sergio Rodriguez and Rudy Fernandez.

This goes beyond the usual “fire the coach” crap that takes place on message boards in every city (there are Lakers fans who consistently complain about how poorly Phil Jackson coaches). There are serious and legitimate concerns about his ability to take the team to the next level, and he will have to address them come playoff time or he may well be gone. Dave at Blazers Edge explains.

(In recent interviews he did) I was fairly bold in speculating that if Portland fails to make the second round of the playoffs this year Coach McMillan’s job will be in jeopardy and my hunch is that he’ll be let go.  Part of that is reasonable.  This roster isn’t going to be overhauled in the near future.  These specific players need to win.  Failure isn’t an option. How many years can they play together and not advance in the playoffs before they begin to doubt?  Part of it is environmental.  When doubts start to arise in this league the first, and easiest, turn-around is to get a new coach.  Sometimes the fresh voice helps.  Often it only confirms the futility of the situation.  Either way, it’s going to be tried.  Plus you have to figure that Nate is not Rich Cho’s hire any more than he was Kevin Pritchard’s.  Few coaches survive one regime change in management.  Unless things go well, how do you survive two?

There are a lot of people predicting a breakout year for the Trail Blazers, that they may be the second best team in the West. A spot that looked like was theirs two years ago but injuries robbed them of last season. If they do not look like a team ready to take on that mantle, to look again like a team that is on its way to greatness, McMillan may well be gone.