Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Blazers Keep Nate McMillan For 2 More Years

Nate McMillan will be in Portland
 for at least 2 more years.
Nate McMillan has been rewarded for his great work as coach of the Blazers, on Wednesday he signed a 2 year extension.  

The Blazers took a proactive approach on their biggest off-season issue, and inked Nate McMillan to a two year extension.

Nate McMillan has emerged as one of the top coaches in the NBA.  He began his career as a 12 year player in Seattle.  Just like his coaching style, he was a solid, tough, stat-filling type of player.  He was never flashy on the offensive end, but he was a tough defender, a consistent long range shooter, and a good distributer.

McMillan stayed in Seattle and in the year 2000 started his coaching career as the interim coach for the Sonics.  He coached there until 2005, leading them to the playoffs twice and winning the North West division in 2005.  He then moved on to the Portland Trailblazers.  He is also a mainstay on the US national team, helping coach in the 2006 world championships and the 2008 Beijing olympics.

Nate McMillan has been the Blazers' coach for 6 years now and has actually lost 5 more games than he has won as coach in the span.  When he moved here from Seattle he took over a team with numerous off-the-court and cap problems that was floundering at the bottom of the league.  His tough minded approach has changed the locker room chemistry and the mind-set of the players while the front office has taken care of the cap problems.

Since his tough start, McMillan has taken Portland to the playoffs the last two years and is poised to lead them there for a third.  McMillan won the NBA's coach of the year award last year, for his work amid a rash of injuries which affected the Blazers' roster all year.  This year Nate is in the running for the award once again, dealing with the same type or even worse injury problems.  This year Nate has led the Blazers to the 5th spot in the West so far and has successfully dealt with problems such Rudy Fernandez wanting to be traded, Brandon Roy and Andre Miller questioning his decision making, and the loss of Greg Oden once again.  Through all of those problems he has maintained a positive attitude and continues to plan for the future.

This is a very important move for the future of the franchise.  Keeping McMillan, now a perennial coach of the year candidate, helps the Blazers to continue to focus on the future.  There was talk earlier in the year that the front office was pondering blowing up the roster and rebuilding around Aldridge and Batum.  If the Blazers had lost McMillan I believe that they would have gone ahead an blown this team up.  Now that they have solidified Nate's position in the franchise he can continue to mesh the current talent together and rebuilding is not necessary.

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