Steve Blake

Steve Blake calls Phoenix 'the perfect situation' for his coaching career

Steve Blake calls Phoenix 'the perfect situation' for his coaching career

Steve Blake isn't done with NBA basketball just yet.

The retired 13-year veteran, who spent three separate stints in Portland, took a coaching internship with the Blazers following retirement which he saw as a great learning opportunity.

"For a couple of years I was just doing an internship with the Blazers where I would just help out at practices," said Blake on the Talkin' Blazers podcast. "Just to figure out the ins and outs of the coaching side of the game."

This past offseason, that experience paid off when he got a call from Monte Williams who had recently been hired as head coach of the Phoenix Suns.

When Monte Williams got the head job at Phoenix he reached out to me and asked if it was something I'd want to do full time. I figured, you know, with him being there, James Jones was someone I kind of grew up with, in Miami. Phoenix is a place with good weather. I said if there's a time for me to jump into coaching then this is probably the perfect situation for me.

Blake spent time with Williams and Jones while in Portland. Monte Williams served as an assistant coach under Nate McMillian in Portland from 2005-2010 where he coached Blake for three seasons. James Jones also spent a season playing for Portland in 2007-08 when Blake was the starting point guard. 

Now the three are reunited in Phoenix as general manager, head coach, and assistant coach trying to build the Suns into a playoff team.

"It was an opportunity to change the culture, instill what it takes to have winning basketball... And we knew it was going to be a process," says Blake.

Blake spent one season in Los Angeles playing for Phil Jackson and the Lakers in 2010-11. While it was only one season under Jackson, the eleven-time NBA Champion made an impression. 

"From Phil Jackson, I think it was just how calm [he was] and how he dealt with different personalities," recalled Blake. "He's open-minded. He knows how to handle different people. He is Zen-like. He's a great teacher. He constantly was teaching the basics of footwork, of the triangle, and just day to day just teaching us to make sure we were on point every single moment." 

Now, Blake has transitioned into teaching his players the basics of the game and has even started studying a different type of footwork to have his players learn.

"The way you can get away with extra steps now has changed drastically. So I'm still as a coach like 'how are these guys getting this extra step in and how can I learn to teach that?'"

Once Blake cracks the code, expect to see Devin Booker pulling out the James Harden stepback next season. 

You can listen to the full episode of the Talkin' Blazers podcast with Channing Frye and Dan Sheldon here.

Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant -- Steve Blake gained a lot from those two

Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant -- Steve Blake gained a lot from those two

Former Portland Trail Blazers point guard Steve Blake joined Dan Sheldon and Channing Frye on the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast.

When Frye asked Blake to share stories about his time in Los Angeles with the Lakers, Blake discussed what he learned from Coach Phil Jackson and why Kobe Bryant respected him so much.

Now that Blake has been out of the league for more than four years, he has been focusing on his coaching career.

The 40-year-old is currently an assistant coach for the Phoenix Suns.

As one would expect, Blake gained a lot from Phil Jackson. 

Just how calm and how he dealt with different personalities, like, you can even see now on The Last Dance. He’s open-minded. He knows how to handle different people. He is Zen like. He’s a great teacher. He was constantly teaching us the basics of footwork, the Triangle [Offense], just day-to-day teaching us to make sure we were on point. -- Steve Blake on Phil Jackson

Blake played for the Lakers from 2010-2014.

During his seven years in the league prior to joining the Lakers, Blake admitted he “didn’t care for [Kobe].” But, that all changed once they were teammates.

Before I played with Kobe, and just because he was so good and I was a competitive person, at first, I  didn’t really care for him. I didn’t like him. Him and I used to get into it all the time during games and stuff. I think that’s one of the things he respected about me -- the fact that I wouldn’t back down from him. What you don’t realize that when you get there -- You hear about how focused he is and how his work ethic and all that, but -- you don’t realize until you get there on a day and day out basis, he was working on his body, he was always in the training room trying to do something to recover, he was always watching film, he was always talking about basketball, you don’t realize on day-to-day basis how much he really cared about it.  -- Steve Blake on Kobe Bryant

You can listen to the full episode of the Talkin' Blazers podcast with Channing Frye and Dan Sheldon:

Scoop Podcast: Jake Layman is blessed with great hair and he knows it

Scoop Podcast: Jake Layman is blessed with great hair and he knows it

This week's Trail Blazers guest hails from Massachusetts and is proud of it! It's time to welcome Jake Layman to The Scoop Podcast.

We start off with a story about a very serious “headband” competition between Layman, Pat Connaughton and assistant coach Jim Moran that took place during Layman’s rookie season. 

And, we all know that Layman always means business on the court, but did you know that Jake’s mom was the biggest basketball influence in his life?

Jake's dad tried to get Jake and his four brothers (I repeat four brothers) to play baseball.

But let’s just say Jake's Mom ended up winning that battle.

We also find out more about the special relationship between Layman and former Trail Blazer Steve Blake. Apparently, they both like to daydream about what it would’ve been like to be teammates at Maryland back in the day and what they could’ve accomplished!  

Plus, what was it like during Layman’s NBA debut against the Warriors where he scored 17 points in under eight minutes of play?

Layman cracked a smile on the podcast and joked:

“I was thinking about retiring after that game. You gotta retire on top!”

Another fantastic Layman quote from the podcast: “I’ve been blessed with great hair.”

So, at least Jake is thankful for his flowing locks.

We also to get to the bottom of the proposal story.  People gave Jake a hard time for it “being too simple” in regards to how he asked his longtime girlfriend to marry him.

You be the judge.  

And, what is Layman’s favorite TV show?

What about his least favorite candy bars?

Also, what was the experience like playing for the under-18 US National team with Julius Randle, Marcus Smart, and Sam Decker?

All of those questions are answered along with so much more on this Scoop Podcast with Jake Layman. Listen to the jam-packed podcast below.

Breakfast with the Blazers: Steve Blake returns, this time as coach

Breakfast with the Blazers: Steve Blake returns, this time as coach

For the fourth time, Steve Blake is home with the Trail Blazers.

The former point guard, who had three tours with the Blazers as a player, has joined the team as a coaching intern this season.

Blake said he will coach only at home practices and will not attend games.

“As a player, I felt like I knew the game well and could do it, but I would only want to have this role that I have,’’ Blake said after the Blazers’ first practice. “As much as I would love to be a full-time coach, I’m just not ready for that commitment, with my kids being so young and having just finished playing.’’

Blake, 37, played for eight teams over 13 NBA seasons, including five seasons with the Blazers. He ranks 6th in franchise history with 492 three-pointers and led the 2005-2006 Blazers team with 76 three-pointers. In 2009, he set a Blazers record with 14 assists in a half against the Clippers.

He was traded three times by the Blazers –in 2006 to Milwaukee for Jamaal Magloire; in 2010 to the Clippers (with Travis Outlaw) for Marcus Camby; and in 2015 (with draft pick Rondae Hollis-Jefferson) to Brooklyn for Mason Plumlee and Pat Connaughton.

After he was the 38th overall pick by Washington in 2003, where he played for two seasons, he played for Portland, Milwaukee, Denver, the Clippers, the Lakers, Golden State and Detroit.

Through it all, Portland became his home base.

“This is home for me, always has been since I first played here.(in 2005),’’ Blake said. “It’s home. No matter where I’ve gone, I’ve come back. I love the people here, there is some great relationships with friends of our kids, my pastor at church … it’s just home.’’

Blake last played in Australia for the Sydney Kings in the National Basketball League, but ended his career last November to be closer to wife Kristen and three boys – Nicholas (11), Jameson (8) and Zachary (7) – in West Linn.   

After spending the past nine months being a dad/coach, Blake said he started to get the itch to do something in his spare time. His agent lined up several coaching opportunities around the NBA, but Blake said there was really only one option.

“I was like, nope. If it’s not here it’s nowhere. It’s not happening anywhere else,’’ Blake said with a smile. “I’m staying here.’’

With the Blazers, Blake said his role is to do anything to help, whether that is rebounding for players, offering input in coaches meetings, or getting on the court to go against players.

Damian Lillard, who played with Blake during the 2014-2015 season, said his former teammate is a welcomed addition.

“I think having Steve around is good. He is a guy who, it comes from a different lens than the coaches,’’ Lillard said. “(The coaches are) telling it as kind of enforcers like, ‘you should have been here, you should of did this, this is what we wanted’ and  Steve is more about teaching. He wants to see you improve and do better and he is also a vet. He played how many years … and he’s been a starter, played good minutes as a backup, been on winning teams, losing teams, so just having him there is just really helpful for the players.’’

Blake has been part of the staff for the past three weeks and has taken part in coaches meetings and planning sessions for training camp. He said he doesn’t think he will work exclusively with point guards.

“I’m there if they need me; I’m kind of at the disposal of what they want,’’ Blake said. “If they want me to work with point guards I will, if they want me to do other things I will. But it’s not like I will just hone in on point guards. I’m here for the whole experience, whether it’s rebounding for guys or giving opinions.’’

Coach Terry Stotts, who has always stressed and valued input among his assistants, said Blake’s NBA playing experience is invaluable to this staff.

“I’ve always appreciated players’ point of view, so in coaches meetings I will ask him his opinion of something because he has a unique perspective,’’ Stotts said.

Stotts, however, doesn’t have to worry about Blake stealing his job. Blake said his family remains his priority and he has no full-time coaching  aspirations.

“I’ve always wanted to be around the game, but I didn’t want a full-time coaching position,’’ Blake said. “I know it’s a bit of a grind, and you are away from home even more than you are as a player. And I really enjoy being home with my family, and that’s my first priority, my wife and kids. As much as I would love to be a full-time coach, I would want to be home for them.’’

Blazers Links:

I wrote about Terry Stotts and the defensive dilemma he faced in the offseason.

Dwight Jaynes  noted that the cliches were flying after the first practice.

Little Mike Richman at The Oregonian wrote about rookie Zach Collins missing the first practice.

Sean Meagher showed he's not just a tall-drink-of-water, he can also shoot some good photos of the first practice.