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Portland Trail Blazer Fantasy Coaching Combinations For Baby Boomers

Happening Now: Terry Porter and Rick Adelman In Minnesota

Happening Now: Terry Porter and Rick Adelman In Minnesota

What stood out most in last night’s Blazer vs Pistons NBA game?

The late game heroics of Damian Lillard closing the door?

The fierce pace of LaMarcus Aldridge?

Robin Lopez warming up the Detroit mascot?

The half-filled arena in a bankrupt American city?

Or was it the familiar faces on the Detroit coaching staff?

There was former Portland Trail Blazer coach Maurice Cheeks and former player Rasheed Wallace. Cheeks is the man who learned that helping a little girl sing the National Anthem is no guarantee of job security in the NBA.

You still have to win games.

Wallace is the author of some of professional sports most endearing slogans, starting with “Ball Don’t Lie.” Add, “Both Teams Played Hard,” and “Cut The Check,” and you’ve got communication at the highest level. Did he ever say, “It’s Not About The Money?”

With those two on the same staff, you have to wonder how other Blazer pairings would fare today.

The Green Coaches

One good big man/little man coaching tandem is Bill Walton and Damon Stoudamire. Baby boomers love Bill and Damon. Both have a 420-friendly past, an unyielding interest in playing the game the right way, and enough experience to fill new players to the brim.

Both had injuries that end many careers. But they came back. Walton came back from bad feet, Stoudamire from a torn patellar tendon. Neither called it day. Walton gave us title time with the Larry Bird Celtics, while Mighty Mouse played a few more years before coaching.

He’s now with the Arizona Wildcats.

In the coach’s meeting:

“Throw it down, big man.”

“I’m not a big man, Bill. Let’s open a window in here.”

“Excellent idea. And turn up The Dead.”

The Euro Coaches

Arvydas Sabonis and Dražen Petrović show the world wide reach of basketball. They were famous European players before Euro was cool, before Dirk and Tony Parker, before the Gasol brothers.

Their team would face coaches who played through pain, through disappointment, and through the language barrier. A Sabonis/Petrovic coached team would know how to shoot the long ball and how to pass inside.

Most important, they’d know how to be good teammates. If life in the former Soviet Union’s sphere of influence teaches anything, it teaches how to focus. Even the cush life of the sports star does’t keep you from mandatory military service.

When the choices are basketball or the gulag, you learn to concentrate in practice.

“The important thing to do when a teammate throws a towel in your face during the Western Conference Finals is focus on the game. The other person is already lost.”

The Discipline Coaches

Would the duo of P. J. Carlesimo and Latrell Sprewell strike more fear into players than two battle hardened Eastern Europeans like Sabonis and Petrovic? Sprewell strikes fear into everyone, a man who does what he needs to do. And more.

While he didn’t play for the Blazers, his attack on Coach Carlesimo gives him enough badassery to land anywhere he chooses. Imagine a player not named Metta World Peace giving Coach Sprewell a hard time. It wouldn’t happen because at the beginning of each year they players would hear the choking story all over again.

Then they’d see the re-enactment.

Complaints about playing time? None. Complaints about anything? If Coach Carlesimo doesn’t open his mouth wide enough to scream a hole through you, Coach Sprewell would take you behind the bench for some private MMA work. Be ready to tap out.

“With the proper grip, it gets easier to submit.”

Texas Coaches

Clyde Drexler and LaMarcus Aldridge would have been great teammates. But great coaches? With LA’s spectacular play, he’d push his bigs to greater heights. This is a man who’s let the game unfold before him. Too soft? Too meek? Not anymore.

With Clyde leading the way you could expect a little Phi Slamma Jamma, some trademark slashing and leaping. With LaMarcus beside him, Clyde would do a better job coaching than he did when he returned to Houston. He just needed a bigger gig.

“Look, Texas isn’t the easiest place to recruit for basketball. Me and The Dream almost got it done in college, then got rings with the Rockets. Kids want it all and they want it now. I’ll let LaMarcus work that end.”

If your favorite team had great players in the past, and they all should, pair them to see what kind of coaches they’d be. Then imagine them taking your team to the promise land.

Would it get any better than that?

Dream a little, boomer. Go ahead and stretch your brain. You know how to do that. Take another look at Rick and Terry, the past and the future. You’re right in there.



About David Gillaspie
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