Chauncey Billups agreed with the Portland Trail Blazers to become the team’s next head coach. While Billups has a lackluster amount of coaching experience, his vast NBA accolades justify the hiring.
Billups played 17 seasons in the NBA, five of which where he was an All-Star. Additionally, Billups made All-NBA teams and All-Defensive teams multiple times. He has various awards revolving around sportsmanship, and his #1 is retired by the Pistons. On top of this, he’s an NBA Finals champion.
That previously mentioned poor coaching experience is extremely minimal. He’s served as the Clippers’ assistant coach since just 2020. A head coaching gig is a sizable step-up from that, even more so given Billups has been involved in coaching for only a year.
Change was Necessary
The Trail Blazers lost in the first round of the NBA Playoffs to the Denver Nuggets. Therefore, they certainly aren’t a bad team. They are nothing like the Orlando Magic, who recently fired their coach too. But the extent of just how “good” they are is indeed the issue. Portland is a team with a tandem backcourt that is elite. Carmelo Anthony fills the small forward position, and various seasoned centers vacate their big man role. This is a team whose skill is built beyond the first round. This led to the problem that was with the prior head coach, Terry Stotts.
Since his hiring in 2012, Stotts has lacked the crucial x-factor required to make it past the first round. C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard are only getting older, and Anthony’s already 37. Portland needed to be rejuvenated before the window of opportunity closed, and that’s why Billups is a good hire.
He’s a player, not a life-long coach. He’s relatively young, charismatic, and personable. He has been deep in the playoffs. He has been to the finals. He has won a championship. He’s a refreshing face who brings Juwan Howard, Michigan-like energy to this Trail Blazers team.
Sometimes in coaching, taking a shot on a guy who hasn’t proven himself isn’t a bad idea. Everyone starts their legacies somewhere. Chauncey Billups will look to continue to build his in Portland.