The Toronto Raptors and their fans seemed to adopt the Portland Trail Blazers as their playoff team of choice following the Norman Powell trade, but even the backing of Canada was not enough to push Damian Lillard and Terry Stotts to the next round of the playoffs.
An injured Denver Nuggets squad took the series in six games, and that result ended up costing Stotts his job and pumping up the Lillard trade rumors after four first-round playoff exits in a five-year span despite one of the most explosive, well-coached, and productive offenses in the entire game.
Stotts might’ve gotten the ax, but he will not have to wait long to find a new job, as Marc Stein of the New York Times is reporting that the Orlando Magic are reportedly ready to give him another shot at being a head coach. The Raptors need to act fast to add him to their coaching staff as an assistant.
Nick Nurse is one of the best coaches in the league, but one thing you can never have enough of in the NBA is quality assistant coaches, and Stotts can help put his unique twist on the Toronto offense if they secure his signature.
The Toronto Raptors could use someone like Terry Stotts on the bench.
The Raptors have lost two key assistants to the head coaching ranks recently, as Nate Bjorkgren left before the season to coach the Indiana Pacers and Chris Finch left during it to take over the Minnesota Timberwolves. That constant turnover will make it tough for any team, even one as cohesive as Toronto, to maintain their quality on offense.
Even dating back to his stints with the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks, no team coached by Stotts for a full season has finished lower than 16th in points per game. The Blazers ranked in the top 10 in points scored in all but one of his nine seasons in Portland.
When the Dallas Mavericks won their 2011 championship, Stotts was an assistant on that team, and he was regarded as the main architect of the offense that helped get Dirk Nowitzki his only NBA title. Helping the offense was the specialty of both Bjorkgren and Finch, so Stotts is filling a need on a somewhat depleted coaching staff.
While FanSided’s Nylon Calculus has shown that Stotts doesn’t lean heavily on ball movement or player movement in his offense, he’s shown that he can help Lillard and the rest of Portland’s offense keep pace with anyone out of an offense that leans on iso and high pick-and-rolls.
That philosophy and know-how could be a nice yin to the yang provided by Nurse’s offense, where ball movement is emphasized.
Stotts’ failures in the postseason don’t necessarily show that he is a bottomless void when it comes to his basketball knowledge. In fact, he’s proven several times over that he knows how to help scheme up some quality offenses, and having his set of eyes and ears on the bench could help Nurse and the offense as a whole return to their pre-Tampa form.