LeBron James says Terry Stotts should have won Coach of the Year

Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James said that Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts should have won Coach of the Year, via the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Chris Haynes. After seeing Portland compete with the Golden State Warriors for five games, James had kind words for Blazers guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum as well:

"I think Terry Stotts should have been or could have been Coach of the Year," James said after practice on Thursday. "I can't remember the last time that I've seen a team lose four starters and still be in the same position as far as the postseason success they had.

"I mean they lost Batum, they lost Matthews, they lost Robin and they lost LaMarcus in the off-season and the only returning starter was Dame [Damian Lillard]."

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Stotts "coached his a-- off," James told me.

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"Dame is an All-Star," James said. "Even though he wasn't on the team, he's an All-Star. C.J. obviously is a stud being from here, the Canton area. Of course he's a stud. I thought Terry Stotts did a great job. They had a great season."

Stotts finished second in Coach of the Year voting behind the Warriors' Steve Kerr. Most years, he probably would have won, but Golden State went 73-9 in the regular season. While I gave my fake vote to Stotts, I can't really argue against Kerr.

Portland had a stellar season considering preseason expectations. Instead of falling into the lottery, the Blazers went 44-38 and earned all sorts of respect with their postseason performance. James' comments reflect a sense around the league that Stotts made the most of what he had and the Blazers should continue improving.

As CBS Sports' Zach Harper noted, this summer is going to be big for Portland. It had a storybook season, but it needs some more firepower if it is going to sustain this success. The Blazers haven't typically been seen as a free-agent destination, but maybe that will change now. James certainly is not the only one who has noticed what's going on there.

LeBron James points
LeBron James gives respect where its due. USATSI
CBS Sports Writer

James Herbert is somewhat fond of basketball, feature writing and understatements. A former season-ticket holder for the expansion Toronto Raptors, Herbert does not think the NBA was better back in the... Full Bio

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