August 03, 2011
The Minnesota Timberwolves have essentially been working without a coach since the season ended in April, despite team personnel chief David Kahn artlessly dragging out the firing of former coach Kurt Rambis for weeks following his last game on the bench. The Wolves appear to be in no hurry to pick a coach to run a team that might not play in 2011-12, and are bringing in two more candidates for interviews.
Both candidates are crazy, in their own inimitable way.
Former Timberwolves player and Toronto Raptors head coach Sam Mitchell is on the list, and former don't-want-to-list-all-his-former-teams-because-I'm-trying-to-stave-off-carpal-tunnel coach Larry Brown is also due for a visit with Kahn.
Many Wolves fans have wondered why the man who won Coach of the Year with Toronto and who played two different stints with the Timberwolves wasn't on the team's interview list..
Mitchell is expected to interview Friday or Saturday, Brown next week.
Wolves boss David Kahn and owner Glen Taylor already have interviewed Terry Porter, Mike Woodson, Bernie Bickerstaff, Nelson.
Former Houston coach Rick Adelman has been talked to at some depth about the job, but, unlike the aforementioned four, he didn't come to town for an in-person interview.
If you'll recall, Kahn pointed to his team's supposed slow pace under Rambis as the main reason for his firing, which made absolutely no sense considering his team's ranking atop the leaders in possessions per game from 2010-11. Even adjusted measures put the Wolves at the vanguard when it came to pushing the ball.
Brown? We don't need to tell you. He squeezes the life out of games by calling every play, groaning every time a 3-pointer goes up, and slowing the pace. It can work, there's no doubt, but only if he has the horses. And in Minnesota, he wouldn't.
Mitchell's Toronto teams were, overall, about middle of the road when it came to pace despite having to use small lineups and a gazelle of a finisher in Chris Bosh(notes). At the very least, neither of these coaches will come close to replicating the all-out stylings of Rambis. If Kahn wanted to push the ball, he already had his man in Rambis. He wasn't any good as a coach, we should remind ourselves, but he did demand that his team run at all costs, despite the lip service paid to running the triangle offense.
And, sadly, it says quite a bit about Larry Brown's career that he's had to take gigs with struggling (to say the least) franchises in Charlotte and potentially Minnesota just to sustain his NBA career.