Orlando Magic facing stiff competition for league’s best coaches

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Damian Lillard, David Vanterpool, Portland Trail Blazers
Damian Lillard has credited David Vanterpool for helping him in his development. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

Ready for Damian Lillard’s time

5. Portland Trail Blazers

Everything that can be said about the New Orleans Pelicans can be said about the Portland Trail Blazers but to an extreme.

The Portland Trail Blazers found themselves in a situation where they extremely underachieved following a six-game series loss to the Denver Nuggets. The problem with losing to Denver was that Jamal Murray was out for the year, and Will Barton was out for most of the series.

Portland has made the playoffs seemingly every year. But the team has struggled to get out of the first round consistently or climb to the top of the Western Conference.

Out goes Terry Stotts, in comes another coach. Now, there are a bunch of questions surrounding the roster and what changes are coming.

Yes, coaching Damian Lillard would be a blessing for any coach as he is one of the best players in the NBA. But there is no guarantee that he will be on the roster next season as the offseason will bring changes that started with firing Stotts.

The biggest difference between New Orleans and Portland job is the age difference between the two rosters. The Blazers are a veteran-led team, and whoever gets the job to coach this team will have pressure to win now if they decide to retain Lillard.

As of now, the Blazers starting unit consists of Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, Norman Powell, Robert Covington and Jusuf Nurkic. With the average age of the starting five being 28.6 years old and Lillard being the oldest at 30, it is clear that the window for them is to win now, especially with Carmelo Anthony, who is 37 is also their sixth man.

Portland seems to be further along in their coaching search than others. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports they are down to their next round of interviews with Becky Hammon and Chauncey Billups making the final round.

The Blazers have to decide on the direction they want to go in before they decide on the coach.

The Blazers can either continue to compete and have the window to win be now, or they can get off to a fast start to a rebuild as a return for Damian would be huge. Regardless of the decision, it is certain that Portland’s future is still unclear, and have to make the decision, whichever it may be before they start coach search.