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.