Thursday, June 23, 2011

Next Alpha Wolf?

We love our fans and that is why we allow them to do write ups.

We did “who should be the next Timberwolves Coach”. Here is the opinion of a fan. Hope you like it.

(LAWA – an STOB Contributor)

Tonight will make the second out of David Kahn’s three years as Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations that he will be running the war room of the current most-important draft in franchise history without a head coach. With reports that Kurt Rambis is a goner after the draft takes place tonight, any selections and trades will be up to PBO David Kahn and his trusty side kick, Tony Ronzone. It seems like every article or tweet you read on draft time rumors has a Timberwolves angle.

Kahn is quickly becoming one of the most active GMs in the NBA. His unending efforts finally landed Ricky Rubio, and turned Corey Brewer and two second round draft picks into Michael Beasley and Anthony Randolph. But activity and progress are not always tethered. He’s also turned Al Jefferson into, essentially nothing. And it was just two years ago that a fledgling Kahn selected point guards Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn back to back before knowing who would coach them. Flynn never really fit Rambis’ style and Rubio’s first 2 weeks as a Wolf proved to be Rambis last 2.

The Wolves hold the sought after #2 pick as well as the #20 pick in tonight’s draft. Considering the Wolves were the youngest team in the NBA last year, and are already adding 20 year old Rubio who will take some time before he is acclimated to the NBA, adding two more rookies could be unwise. Compounding the issues is the fact that the Timberwolves biggest needs continue to be a scoring shooting guard and a rim protecting center; but players available to be drafted tonight fitting those molds are aren’t really deserving of the #2 pick, and will most certainly be gone by the #20 pick. (Biyombo, Valanciunas, Burkes, Brooks, Thompson)

That is one reason the Timberwolves are finding their way into so many trade rumors. Should they move away from their picks to fill their needs, or should a team that hasn’t won over 40 games in the last 2 years combined, simply use their picks for the best players available? With major decisions and myriad options before the Wolves tonight, the question remains, who will be charged with coaching the group on the roster once Kahn is finished and the dust has settled?

The Rumored Options: Lorenzo Romar’s name has come up and apparently, the Wolves brass has been researching him for a few weeks. Romar has had modest success as the University of Washington’s head coach for several years, but the Timberwolves cannot afford any more learning curves. For that same reason, former MN Golden Gopher standout and long time Wolves assistant JB Bickerstaff (who survived the era’s of both Rambis and Kevin McHale) should not be considered. Maybe 5-10 years from now, but not now. Rumors that Bickerstaff’s father, Bernie, may come in as a glorified interim coach who holds the reigns while his son continues to season as an assistant also sounds like over-thinking a situation that needs a simple solution. 70 year old Larry Brown apparently called the Wolves last week offering his services as well, no thanks.

With several coaches such as Mike Brown and Mark Jackson already finding their new homes this offseason, and big name candidates (Adelman, Van Gundy) not likely to say yes to a proposal from Kahn, let’s look at another option.

Two experienced coaches who are currently on the open market are former Nets coach Lawrence Frank, and former Toronto Raptor’s coach of the year, Sam Mitchell. Mitchell was an original member of the Timberwolves in 1989 and played many seasons in Minnesota. A solid option would be to hire Mitchell as the head coach. He is a coach that has plenty of experience as a player himself, but isn’t so young he won’t garner respect. Plus, he is familiar to the fanbase and familiar with this organization and state well which is a bonus, albeit a small one.

The second move would be to hire Lawrence Frank as the assistant head coach. I’m not sure if Frank would go for this (or Glen Taylor’s wallet either), but he would be an ideal defensive assistant, similar to the role Tom Thibodeau played for the Celtics prior to taking the Bulls job. Next, retain JB Bickerstaff as an assistant. He does have a lot of promise and these young players would do well from keeping a recognizable and youthful figure around. The rest of the assistants can go. Reggie Theus, Bill Laimbeer and Dave Wohl need not be brought back. The value of Derrick Martin, who was a player development assistant under Rambis, would be up to Kahn’s discretion.

Mitchell or Frank are this observer’s endorsements, if you can get them both, all the better.


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