Tuesday, July 14, 2009

McMillan Practices What He Preaches

There hasn't been a hotter name in coaching than former NC State guard Nate McMillan these past few years. After helping rebuild the Seattle SuperSonics, McMillan moved on to Portland, where he did the same, leading them to a 54-28 season and becoming a savior to a city starved for NBA success.

With his contract set to run out after the 2009-2010 season, McMillan had to start thinking about how to play his next move. Stick with the team that you've built up from the bottom, or start seeing what else is out there? It isn't as if McMillan wouldn't have options. Any team would love to bring on a coach with a track record like his, and players around the league are starting to take notice.

Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant recently told Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski that if Phil Jackson does not return to the Lakers, he'd lobby for either Jeff Van Gundy or Nate McMillan. This prompted the Blazers to move fast and pick up Nate's one year extension, locking him up through the 2010-2011 season.

After that season, McMillan would be free to negotiate, free to sign a long term, big money deal. However, Nate McMillan preaches staying hungry, and earning your paycheck to his Portland players, which is why after his contract his up, he will only be signing one-year contracts, one at a time.

"I think that's the way it should go," said McMillan, who has been in Portland since 2005. "It might be crazy ... I know my agent thinks I'm crazy. But I think it should be based on your performance. I don't think there is another coach who would say that, and I say that because everybody talks about security. For me, security is knowing you want me to be here, and that I'm doing what I need to do. Not you wondering, 'Why is he here?' Or, 'How are we going to get out of this?' "

The NBA has long been known as a "players league." This meaning that it doesn't matter who your coach is, as long as you have the talented players. This may be the case a majority of the time; however, I think if you look a little closer there are a few coaches out there who really make a difference. Nate McMillan is one of those difference makers, and it's his bold statements and the respect he earns by practicing what he preaches that have NBA superstars lobbying for his services.


7 Responses to "McMillan Practices What He Preaches"
  1. redfred said...
    July 14, 2009 at 12:49 PM

    I know I'm probably in the minority on this, but Nate McMillian is in my top five all-time favorites to have played at NC State.

    He was a great kid in college, a very solid BB player on the collegiate level and later in the pro's, and he has done well with what he learned from JIM VALVANO as well as from others.

    NC State University should be VERY proud of it's contributions in the development of a person like Nate MCMillian.

  2. Pack Leader said...
    July 14, 2009 at 1:15 PM

    I have heard rumors from several sources that said Nate was not too found of NCSU in recent years, esp involving the departure of Herb. I know rumors of his son playing for NC State when Herb was still coach flew around for months only to have McMillian Jr follow Herb all the way to ASU. Also when we were deep in our coaching search his name seemed to pop up alot and every time he quickly shot it down saying he had no interest in the job. Maybe this is due to the fact that he has had recent success in the Pros or maybe he didnt want to be the one to follow up herb.... Is he active with the Wolfpack club or any alumi organization??

    Any insight to these actions WHP?

  3. WolfCop said...
    July 14, 2009 at 2:32 PM

    Well, Herb was mistreated. I don't blame him for feeling that way about some of the fanbase. Nate is a great rep of NC State. He is also one of my all time favorites. Magic Johnson once said that Nate was the toughest defender in the NBA. And, um, I think the reason he was not interested in the NC State job had something to do with the multi million dollar contracts he signs.

  4. Pack Leader said...
    July 14, 2009 at 2:52 PM

    No doubt he makes the BIG $ with the NBA!!!

  5. redfred said...
    July 14, 2009 at 5:42 PM

    Pack Leader,

    I have spoken with someone who is still in contact with Nate McMillian, or at least was, back we were talking about McMillian during the coaching search anyway. So may I offer a different point of view on Nate McMillian's feelings regarding NC State.

    What I heard was that Nate M had similar feelings, just like many of the former players still do, about the events that occurred back in early 1990's. And due to those feelings, NC State University has lost much of it's luster in Nate's mind over the years.

    Now, whether that "insider" was speaking the truth about Nate's feelings involving NCSU, or not, I can't really say. But it made perfectly good sense to me either way. There are certainly many of us who feel exactly the same about the way NC State has conducted it's affairs over the past few decades.

    I was told that Nate thought Herb was the type of coach who would be a good fit for his son's personality, then when Herb left, and considering the ensuing fiasco that followed his departure, that was just too much for McMillian to overlook, regardless of his friendship with Lowe.

    At least that's what I heard from someone who SHOULD know.

  6. Pack Leader said...
    July 14, 2009 at 9:34 PM

    Thanks for that tid bit RedFred

  7. Anonymous said...
    July 15, 2009 at 1:36 AM

    Nate had a son i think he is still in HS is he coming to play for Sid?


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