Billups again rips Trail Blazers players: “I want us to compete harder”
Coach Chauncey Billups has ripped his Trail Blazers before for not fighting through problems, not competing.
Thursday night, a shorthanded Blazers team — no Damian Lillard (out with an abdominal issue), Norman Powell (quad), or Nassir Little (ankle) — was easily beaten by the Spurs, 114-83. San Antonio dominated both ends of the floor with a balanced attack, led by Bryn Forbes, who had 18 off the bench.
After that performance, Billups ripped his Blazers again. Via friend of this site Sean Highkin:
Chauncey Billups: "It's the NBA. You can't underestimate anybody. You can't disrespect anybody being a professional NBA player. I felt like we came in here thinking they were just going to lay down."— Sean Highkin (@highkin) December 3, 2021
Chauncey Billups: "I want us to compete harder. I want us to be more competitive in every game. I don't feel like we do that, and it concerns me. And I've felt that way in a lot of our wins. This is not just after a loss, me saying that."— Sean Highkin (@highkin) December 3, 2021
It’s been a rough season for the Trail Blazers. GM Neil Olshey said last offseason the team’s first-round playoff exit was not a product of the roster, then proceeded to fire coach Terry Stotts and throw him under the bus for the team’s defense. He brought in first-time coach Billups, who now oversees the 28th ranked defense in the NBA on an 11-12 team. Billups did inspire Lillard to stay in Portland and not push his way out of town, but the abdominal issue that slowed Lillard in the Tokyo Olympics has lingered all season, hurt his shooting (30.2% from 3), and taken the top gear or two away from his game.
Throw in the cloud of a workplace investigation of Olshey and the body language of Trail Blazers players looks defeated from the opening tip some nights.
That clearly frustrates Billups, but he has not yet found a way to consistently light a fire under this team, a squad with a ceiling well below Olshey’s expectations if Lillard is not playing at an All-NBA level. The question is what will shake this team up?
As she was leaving the arena flanked by her security detail, I asked Trail Blazers chair Jody Allen about the investigation into Neil Olshey, which is now a month old.— Jason Quick (@jwquick) December 3, 2021
“I don’t have any comment right now,” she said without stopping.