LeBron James says Blazers' Terry Stotts deserved NBA Coach of the Year award

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The curtain came down on a terrific season for the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday after they were defeated in five games by the Golden State Warriors in their Western Conference semi-finals series. 

Just making it that far represented a successful year for the franchise after enduring a difficult summer prior to the 2015-16 campaign which saw four of their starting five players - LaMarcus Aldridge, Wes Matthews, Nic Batum and Robin Lopez - depart for pastures new, either via free agency or a trade.  

The Blazers had just come off the back of a 51-win season and in one fell swoop saw almost their entire team dismantled. Experts predicted that this would be a rebuilding year for Portland as they would become a lottery team and have a losing record. 

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However, led by their talented backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, Rip City proved the doubters wrong emphatically as they ended with a 44-38 record and secured a playoff berth with a fifth-placed finish in the west. 

Lillard thrived under the added responsibility and emerged as a real leader for the franchise averaging a career-best 25.1 points, 6.8 assists, and four rebounds per game. 

The job of head coach of Terry Stotts cannot be understated as he showed why he is one of the most talented coaches in the league. 

There aren't many coaches who can lose the talent he did and still guide a team to the playoffs and he deserves his fair share of credit. 

The 58-year-old was recognised for his success as he was voted second behind Warriors head coach Steve Kerr for the Coach of the Year award. 

According to Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James, though, Stotts deserved to win the accolade. A glowing endorsement from one of the league's best players.

"I think Terry Stotts should have been or could have been Coach of the Year," LeBron said, according to "I can’t remember the last time that I’ve seen a team lose four starters and still be in the same position as far as the postseason success they had."

LeBron certainly isn't alone in thinking that Stotts was the worthy recipient of the award but it is impossible to argue with Kerr being given the honour after leading the Oakland-based franchise to a 73-9 record in the regular season - eclipsing the previous record set by Michael Jordan and Kerr's 1995-96 Chicago Bulls team. 

He may have missed out on the award but the Blazers are ready to reward their coach in a different way as reports emerged yesterday that they are keen to exercise their team option on Stotts and even discuss extending his deal beyond next season. 

Damian Lillard
Portland Trail Blazers
Northwest Division
Western Conference
LeBron James
Cleveland Cavaliers
Central Division
Eastern Conference

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