Ex-Dallas Mavericks assistant coach, and now the head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers, Terry Stotts talks his relationship with Dirk, Barea in Dallas and more.
Sitting at a winless 0-4 record, the Dallas Mavericks host a talented Portland team headlined by their star-studded back court. Looked at by many to be fighting with Portland for playoff seeding, Dallas must get back on track to gain their first win of the season.
Leading the charge for Portland is their Head Coach Terry Stotts, who comes from the coaching tree of Rick Carlisle in Dallas. Stotts spent four season in Dallas under Carlisle and was an assistant on the championship team in 2011.
Stotts, at shoot around on Friday morning before the game, took time to talk with reporters about the Dallas Mavericks.
Ex-Blazer, Wesley Matthews, was a popular topic for everyone at shoot around while Stotts himself was asked about what he thinks about Wes now in his second season in Dallas.
“Wes looks the same to me. You know he’s not shooting the ball particularly well but I think he is getting good looks. He’s tough defensively and hard-nosed…To me, he looks like the same player as when he left Portland.”
Through the first four games of the season, Matthews is shooting just 31% from the field and 23% from behind the arc. After spending much of last year recovering from his Achilles injury, Matthews enters this year completely healthy, and his old coach agrees.
Stotts was then asked about his thoughts on J.J. Barea and his success in the league despite his stature…
"“With J.J. it’s just his toughness, whether it is physical or mental. When you come into the league like he did, he had a little bit of a chip on his shoulder. I don’t think his confidence ever wavered. He carved out a niche. I think the Mavericks and him are a great fit. He really compliments Dirk. When I was here, we tried to keep him on the court with Dirk most of the time. They compliment each other very well. He fits into the culture with the Mavs. More than anything else…he is a tough guy.”"
If there is a coach in the league that knows the impact of Barea and Nowitzki together, it’s Terry Stotts. Stotts, like a lot of Mavs fans, recognizes the chemistry that Barea and Nowitzki show together on the court over the years.
When I asked Stotts what Nowitzki means to him, the ex-Mavs coach had this to say.
“Probably right now, I appreciate his friendship. When I was here as a coach I appreciated his work ethic and what a great teammate he was.”
But it was Dirk’s joking nature that Stotts enjoys the most.
Dirk is Dirk and we all love him. His humorous side is something that Nowitzki has put on display since the day he arrived in Dallas as he captured the hearts of a fan base. It’s especially cool to see an ex-Mavs coach still talk about how funny the Big German is and the joy he brings to the game of basketball.
Although Nowitzki is the staple of the franchise, Harrison Barnes could be the guy who ushers in the next phase of the post-Dirk era in Dallas after signing a max contract over the summer. Going from being just another role player in Golden State, to one of the main options in Dallas, Barnes’ role as changed, but does game planning for him change?
"“Not really that much different. We respected him in Golden State what he could do as far as taking a guy off the dribble, post up, spot up and shoot threes. I think the only difference is he has more opportunities now. But he has the same type of game.” -Stotts on difference in game planning for him now compared to last year."
Well, you could take those comments by Stotts however you want them.
On one hand, there is a sense of respect for Barnes and the threats he poses on the offensive end of the ball. On the other hand, Dallas needs Barnes to be MUCH more than what he was in Golden State. They need him to expand his game and be more of a threat than he was in Golden State.
Either way, Dallas needs a big night from Harrison Barnes as the Mavs try to earn their first win of the season.
It’s always good to have Terry Stotts back in town.