More Blazers Drama, Let's Talk Player Development, AK Speaks on Jokic, and Other Bulls Bullets

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More Blazers Drama, Let’s Talk Player Development, AK Speaks on Jokic, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

If you need me, I’ll be tanning my pasty torso at the beach. Hot Vax Summer starts now!

•   The Portland Trail Blazers drama continues. One day after the organization decided to part ways with head coach Terry Stotts, one of the franchise’s top targets has pulled his name out of the running. Superstar Damian Lillard is expected to be an important part of the team’s head coach hunt, and he told The Athletic’s Shams Charania on Saturday that he would like Lakers assistant Jason Kidd to be the team’s leading man. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Kidd has now decided not to pursue the job due to Lillard’s comments. More specifically, Woj wrote that Kidd felt like going through the interview process with the organization knowing of Lillard’s public endorsement would put everyone in an awkward place.

•   I was genuinely surprised when I saw those quotes surface from Lillard. Typically those comments are left internal so the interview process can go smoothly. The question now will be whether or not we see Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups have the same reaction as Kidd, who Lillard also noted as a replacement he prefers in his conversation with The Athletic. Additionally, I can’t help but wonder what kind of reaction Lillard will have if both coaches take themselves out of the running. I doubt it will lead to anything drastic, but the Lillard-Blazers relationship does feel at least a tiny bit more fragile than normal.

•   One name I could see entering the mix is David Vanterpool, who was an assistant coach with the Blazers from 2012-2019. Lillard and McCollum have been advocates for Vanterpool in the past when he was in the running for other head coach gigs around the league. Also, it’s not like he is under contract anywhere else at the moment. When Chris Finch took over the Minnesota Timberwolves job midseason, he let Vanterpool walk in an effort to build out his own staff.

•   Vanterpool was listed last offseason as a candidate for the Bulls head coach opening. We don’t know how far he got into the process, but he was not a surprising name to see thrown into the mix based on his strong reputation in the player development department. I don’t foresee this happening, but if Vanterpool doesn’t end up with a new contract soon, I would love to see the Bulls try to get him into the Advocate Center. After helping grow guys like Lillard and McCollum, I’m sure he would do wonders with LaVine and Coby White.

•   I’ve seen a lot of people rag on the Bulls for underperforming in that area this season. I don’t necessarily disagree with those comments, and I’m also not trying to defend the front office, but I can envision a couple of reasons why we didn’t see some of the Bulls’ young players take a major step forward. For starters, establishing a solid player development system in Year 1 is hard, and it gets even harder when we consider the team had practically zero practice time this season and had to deal with a boatload of protocols behind the scenes. Then, I think we also have to remember the verdict was still out on several of the players the Bulls were trying to develop. We always just assumed guys like Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. were going to be high-quality players … but what if they’re … ya know … not? And while I would have liked to see more immediate growth from guys like Coby White and Patrick Williams, we still saw several positive signs. Not to mention, with this new front office and coaching staff in place, Zach LaVine finally took the All-Star jump we have all been waiting for. Again, I agree that things could have looked better, but I think I’ll wait another season or so to really evaluate the player development progress.

•   Arturas Karnisovas talks a little about Jokic in the article below. Good read on the soon-to-be MVP.

•   Speaking of Nikolas …

•   The end of this is so funny.

•   At the beach I’m going to do this to my girlfriend while she is tanning just to feel savage.

•   LeBron James utters the words “I took that personally” in this video, which means Jordan is about to take that personally and give us Space Jam 3: The Return of the GOAT.


Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.