Windhorst: Mike D'Antoni Did 'Very Well' in Interview with Trail Blazers

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 25, 2021

Houston Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni yells from the bench during the second half of an NBA conference semifinal playoff basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Veteran NBA coach Mike D'Antoni reportedly acquitted himself well in a recent head coaching interview with the Portland Trail Blazers.

According to ESPN's Brian Windhorst on The Hoop Collective podcast (beginning at the 32:50 mark), D'Antoni did "very well," and the vision he presented to the Blazers was "well-received."

The Blazers are in search of a new head coach after parting ways with Terry Stotts, who was at the helm for nine seasons and led Portland to the playoffs eight times.

D'Antoni, 70, is one of the most experienced head coaches available.

In 16 seasons with the Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets, he has a 672-527 record and has reached the playoffs 10 times.

While D'Antoni has never made it to the NBA Finals, he did make three trips to the Western Conference Finals, something the Blazers did only once under Stotts.

D'Antoni and the Rockets parted ways after the 2019-20 season, leading to him taking an assistant coaching job under Steve Nash with the Brooklyn Nets this season.

Coaching under his former point guard, D'Antoni helped the Nets earn the second-best record in the Eastern Conference and reach the second round of the playoffs, where they fell to the Milwaukee Bucks in seven games.

While the Blazers have reached the playoffs the past eight seasons, they've won only four series and made it out of the first round just three times.Β This season, Portland went 42-30 and secured the No. 6 seed in the stacked Western Conference before falling to the Denver Nuggets in six games in the first round.

The biggest positive the Blazers have going for them is the presence of All-Star guard Damian Lillard, who has firmly established himself as one of the top offensive players in the league.Β He averaged 28.8 points per game this season after averaging a career-high 30.0 points per game in 2019-20, and he often put the Blazers on his back throughout the campaign.

D'Antoni was the head coach of the Suns when Nash won a pair of MVP awards, and he presided over the Rockets when James Harden was named MVP, which suggests he is capable of taking elite players to the next level.

With Lillard and CJ McCollum expected to lead the way again next season, D'Antoni may be the ideal coach to unlock whatever untapped potential they have left.


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