Nate Tibbetts

Trail Blazers lose assistant coach David Vanterpool to Minnesota Timberwolves

Trail Blazers lose assistant coach David Vanterpool to Minnesota Timberwolves

The Minnesota Timberwolves have hired David Vanterpool as their associate head coach to work with head coach Ryan Saunders and run the T-Wolves’ defense.

Vanterpool has spent the last seven seasons as an assistant coach under the Trail Blazers’ Terry Stotts and has been credited with the development of Portland guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.

The “associate head coach” title is a step up for Vanterpool, who has had numerous interviews for open head-coaching positions over the past two seasons.

“This is a great opportunity for David to increase and diversify his coaching profile in his pursuit of becoming an NBA head coach and one Terry and I had discussed at length with David prior to his decision,” said Portland President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey.

``David was a valuable member of our staff and an important part of our success,” Stotts said. “In his seven years with the Blazers, he was instrumental in all facets of NBA coaching – game preparations, offensive and defensive game plans, player development and player relations. I am very happy for him and his new opportunity. We will miss him and wish him all the best.”

The Trail Blazers could possibly lose another assistant coach as Nate Tibbetts has been rumored to be a candidate for the Memphis head-coaching job.

Report: Memphis receives permission to interview Portland assistant Nate Tibbetts for head coaching job 

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Report: Memphis receives permission to interview Portland assistant Nate Tibbetts for head coaching job 

The Memphis Grizzlies next head coach may be in Portland. 

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Grizzlies have received permission to interview Portland Trail Blazers assistant Nate Tibbetts for the franchise’s vacant head coaching gig. 

 
Tibbetts, who has been on Terry Stotts' staff since the 2013-14 season, last interviewed with the Cavaliers back in April. The Grizzlies have also been linked to former Suns coach Igor Kokoskov and Utah Jazz assistant Alex Jensen for the head coach vacancy. 

WOJ REPORT: Cavs have received permission to interview Blazers assistants Tibbetts and Vanterpool for vacant head coaching job

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WOJ REPORT: Cavs have received permission to interview Blazers assistants Tibbetts and Vanterpool for vacant head coaching job

The Cleveland Cavaliers are searching for their new head coach and they are curious to see if their franchise coach could currently be in Portland.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Cavaliers have received permission to interview Portland Trail Blazers assistants Nate Tibbetts and David Vanterpool for the franchise's vacant head coaching job.

This is nothing new for Tibbetts and Vanterpool. Both assistant coaches have been looked at as potential head coach candidates in the past few years.  

Tibbets has been an assistant for the Trail Blazers since the 2013-2014 season, while Vanterpool joined Portland’s staff in August of 2012.

Tibbets had previously been an assistant for the Cavs from 2011-2013.

Last year, Tibbets was in the final running for the Atlanta Hawks head coach position.

This week, Vanterpool was also linked to be in the running for the Phoenix Sun’s job.

More to come on the coach situation as they progress. 

 

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Lillard's trust in his teammates is the difference-maker for Blazers

Lillard's trust in his teammates is the difference-maker for Blazers

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Trail Blazers, heading into tonight’s Game 3 vs. Oklahoma City, have been playing as well together as they have over the past several seasons. Different players are stepping up to help Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum like never before. This team is connected – at both ends of the floor.

And it all started at one of the low points of the season. The foundation for the team’s current play was built during adversity. Dark days.

McCollum went down with a knee injury during a game at San Antonio March 16. And nobody was quite sure how quickly he would return. Jusuf Nurkic would be lost for the season with a broken leg March 27. What appeared to be a season when the Trail Blazers could make a run at the conference finals, people suddenly questioned their ability even to make the playoffs.

Just how many points per game would Damian Lillard need to score per game to get this team on the winning track and into a decent playoff seed? Forty points? Fifty?

Turns out that approach wasn’t the right direction. Lillard had a better idea.

“I go back to those first three games when CJ was out,” Coach Terry Stotts said. “Before Nurk got hurt, but CJ was out. Those three games where he averaged 30 points and double-digit assists – being very efficient scoring the ball and setting up his teammates.

“I think that really set the tone for the rest of the season.

“Damian is very astute. Now he’s been in the league -- this is his seventh year -- I think he’s learned a lot. So I think he understood the dynamics.

“It’s not to say he wasn’t trying to score – we need him to score. But his understanding of the game and its dynamics had a lot to do with it.”

Lillard knows he’s progressed over time and those who have watched his career develop are aware of it. But the world may not understand how deep his intellectual approach to the game has become.

Maybe a few years ago, well...

“I would have taken it upon myself to try to have more big games,” Lillard said. “But I think it’s part of experience, learning and watching film and having a coaching staff that challenges you.

“Like now, when Nate Tibbetts mentions something to me like ‘Hey, I want to show you these clips. I want to talk about this.’ And we talk about it and so OK, I understand that.

“Dave Vanterpool says, ‘Dame, I need you to look at this.’ And Jim Moran says, ‘Dame, look at this.’ Dale Osbourne …they’ve all come to me and that has helped me advance my game as a point guard – mentally, and to know how to manage things better.

“Playing for a good staff, I went into that situation thinking, ‘I need to try to help my guys, where I can put them in a position to do what they do best, instead of me taking it upon myself.’

“And that will make us a better team in the bigger picture. And it will work out better for us. With Nurk and CJ out, it will work out better for us. And it was a perfect situation.

“That’s just what it had to be. If it came to where we weren’t going to win the game, my mentality was, if we get to the fourth quarter and we’re not scoring, then take it upon yourself.”

It’s all about trust – such an underrated ingredient in a team’s success. And Lillard gets it.

“Guys are capable,” he said. “Allow them to do what they do. Because they know the opportunity is going to be there.”

And they know their leader, Damian Lillard, trusts them.

“Exactly,” he said. ”That’s all the difference in the world.”

Trail Blazers finalize coaching staff

Trail Blazers finalize coaching staff

The Portland Trail Blazers have finalized their coaching staff for the 2016-17 season, it was announced today by president of basketball operations Neil Olshey.

Assistant coach Dale Osbourne has been promoted to the front of the bench, and John McCullough has joined the coaching staff after spending the previous four seasons as the team’s advance scout.

Osbourne, entering his fifth year as an assistant, returns to head coach Terry Stotts’ staff along with David Vanterpool (fifth season), Nate Tibbetts (fourth season) and Jim Moran (second season).