Players are standing behind Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts through the team’s inconsistent performance, according to Jason Quick of NBC Sports Northwest. Stotts has become a target of fan anger during a 20-18 start that has included losses to lower-level teams such as the Hawks, Nets and Kings. With 13 returning players, Portland was counting on continuity to improve on last year’s .500 performance, but the Blazers have often struggled to score and enter tonight last in the league in assists and 25th in total offense.
“We all know what’s going on,’’ Ed Davis said. “The guys on the team, we read about it, and I know Coach does … that ‘Hot Seat’ stuff and things like that. Everybody sees it, and I know while I’m here, [along with] a bunch of the rest of the guys in the locker room, we are going to fight for Coach. Every night. There is no quit in us. He’s our leader.’’
Stotts is in his sixth year as Portland’s coach, compiling a 243-205 record with four straight playoff appearances. He has one more season left on the contract extension he signed after the 2015/16 season.
There’s more today out of Portland:
- Damian Lillard said his admiration for Stotts factored into his decision to accept an extension with the Blazers in 2015, Quick adds in the same piece. Lillard has been a strong defender of the coach, including a publicized interaction with a fan on Instagram in November. The star point guard said owner Paul Allen hasn’t asked him about Stotts, but he knows what he would say if Allen or GM Neil Olshey approached him about a coaching change. “I would want to know why,’’ Lillard said. “Because I honestly don’t feel like he is the issue. As players we have to do things a lot better. I honestly feel like he is one of the better coaches in the league as far as being an offensive coach, but also in giving players an opportunity, and connecting with the players, too. And then we have a great coaching staff. That is not the issue.’’
- Lillard was surprised to end up in Portland in the 2012 draft, relays Noel Harris of The Sacramento Bee. In response to a fan’s question on Twitter, Lillard said he expected be taken by the Kings, who held the fifth pick, one ahead of the Blazers. Sacramento opted for Thomas Robinson, who played for six teams in five years and is currently in Russia.
- Rookie center Zach Collins has brought some toughness to the Blazers, writes Mike Richman of The Oregonian. Collins has earned a spot in the rotation over the past month after seeing little playing time to start the season. “The biggest thing is his character has come through in that he’s aggressive, he’s determined,” Stotts said. “After a tough summer, he came in and wanted to improve. I think it just shows his determination.”