Can you make the case for Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts for coach of the year? He has turned this Blazers team that was written off by many sports analysts at the beginning of the season, into one of the hottest teams in the NBA. The growth the Blazers have shown is astronomical they have steadily improved month to month, including a 9-2 finish in February. They have climbed out of the cellar of the Northwest division and now cut the lead to 9.5 games behind the division leader the Oklahoma City Thunder; with still about 20 games left the Thunder are still not a sure lock to win the crown.
There will be several other candidates who will challenge Stotts for the title such as Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors, Greg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs, and Dwayne Casey of the Toronto Raptors. Outside of Blazers all these teams have one thing in common they all have a loaded roster that have been playoff tested and are in the conversation of being an NBA Finals contender.
Having said that, the NBA awards committee should take the latter into account when making a decision for the award.
What is difference between the Blazers now and earlier in the season?
The most noticeable difference is that team has played better defense and their fearless leader Damian Lillard has really amped up his production. Lillard has averaged 33.5 points and 4.7 assists a game, including two 50 point contests since the All-Star break.
Can the Blazers be a 50 win team this season?
Never say never but it seems very doubtful, the Blazers have 19 games remaining in the regular season and would have to win 17 to reach 50. They have a tough schedule going forward playing against eight playoff teams and five of them will be on the road.
Conservatively speaking, with the momentum on their side I think the Blazers will win 12 of 19 and close out the regular season with a 45-37 record.
But if they can outlast these tough games they will no doubt, be a force to be reckoned with come playoff time.
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