Terry Stotts is expected to remain the Trail Blazers‘ head coach for the rest of this season, but the team will likely take a “long, hard look” at Stotts’ performance this offseason, Jason Quick writes for The Athletic.
Stotts, who took the reins in Portland way back in 2012, has led the Blazers to a 392-312 (.557) record since then and is on track to make the postseason for an eighth consecutive year. This year’s team is 32-24, two games ahead of Dallas for the No. 6 seed in the West.
However, as Quick explains, Portland’s inability to improve on defense is a concern, especially since the front office has added several players – including Robert Covington, Derrick Jones, Norman Powell, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson – viewed as upgrades on that side of the ball. The Blazers currently rank 29th out of 30 teams with a 115.9 defensive rating.
This year’s Blazers have also shown a “staggering lack of fight” against some contenders, according to Quick, who notes that the club has a 1-8 record against the top five teams in the West. Quick observes that the team has had a few frustratingly flat performance as of late, with Stotts making some curious rotation decisions, such as holding out a healthy Jones for the entirety of Sunday’s loss in Charlotte.
Portland’s record this season has been buoyed by a 22-8 showing in “clutch” games (games whose scores are within five points at any time in the last five minutes), which can be attributed in no small part to Damian Lillard‘s heroics. The Blazers have a negative overall net rating, which is rare for a team eight games over .500.
As Quick writes, it’s not a question of whether the Blazers believe Stotts is a good coach — they wouldn’t have stuck with him this long if they didn’t think so. However, the front office will have to determine if he’s capable of getting more out of a team that has championship aspirations.
Stotts has one year and $7MM left on his contract after this season, according to Quick.