AWAW Roundtable: We discuss Sam Mitchell’s discussion with Britt Robson


In case you missed it earlier this week, the incomparable Britt Robson unveiled Part 1 of his two-part series in which he sat down for 65 minutes with Minnesota Timberwolves interim coach Sam Mitchell. In what I believed to be an eye-opening and revealing Q&A session, Mitchell described a lot of the issues he believes exist with the team, the process of taking over after the unfortunate passing of Flip Saunders, the development of the team, and much more.

If you’re going to only read one thing today, make sure it’s Part 1 of that Q&A if you already haven’t done so. If you’re going to only read two things, make sure the second one is the rest of this roundtable session with Steve McPherson, William Bohl, Tim Faklis, and myself. We decided to ask ourselves some questions based on the Q&A between Britt and Sam.

Q: Do you feel more understanding of why the Wolves’ offense looks the way it does based on Sam’s comments about getting ready for the season, or does it not make a difference to you?

Steve McPherson: It’s always helpful — just from a human perspective — to be reminded that what we’re seeing with the Timberwolves this year is ad hoc, and was always going to be that way, given Saunders’ untimely death. Just how ad hoc it looks is exacerbated by the players’ overall youth and inexperience, but I still feel like this exact roster with a couple more years of experience playing this exact brand of basketball would still have a very firm ceiling on how good they could be in today’s NBA.

William Bohl: Yes, I’d say I do feel as though I have a better grip on what Sam is thinking – and not just about the offense. His entire stance on player development is very interesting – that it’s very structured, incremental, and that you cannot skip a step. What I’ve inferred from the article is that Sam may view shooting more three pointers as a goal, but feels he cannot allow his young team to take them without checking off the items on his list first. I disagree with that assessment, but it’s always great to get into the mind of a coach and hear things from his perspective.

Tim Faklis: I think it was helpful, yes, and the thing that stuck out to me was his defense of the lack of shooting three pointers. He pointed to having Calderon, (Anthony) Parker, Kapono on his Toronto team, and how this team has nobody like that. To a degree, I get his thinking, especially when you look down the impressive list of shooters he had in Toronto, and what he has to work with here. But Shabazz only takes 1.5 threes per game. Towns takes less than 1. I’m not on the same thinking level as an NBA coach, and I know he’s considered (and probably tested) this, but I see tweaks that could help things. So, yes, it helped me understand his offense, but I still feel in the dark to an extent.

Zach Harper: While I wouldn’t say I’m necessarily at peace with what the Wolves run on a nightly basis, I would say that I completely buy Sam’s explanation of what he felt the need to emphasize when he was taking over on an interim basis. I also wonder if at some point, the organization was in denial about the status of Saunders because it did seem too unbelievable for him to pass away. Were they unprepared with how to handle such a tragedy? I don’t think that’s something to knock them for either; it would just explain a lot of what Sam says about focusing on defense and believing Flip would be back relatively soon. I very much buy that they didn’t have a lot of time to implement more of what Sam wanted to do in Toronto and couple that with trying to get so many young guys on the right page and I can see the clutter that exists. It still needs to be corrected but I get it.


Q: Do you feel better about where Zach LaVine is right now when you read Sam breaking down what they’re trying to work through?

Steve: I guess I’m torn because on the one hand, I want to believe in the importance of the craft and on the other, I sometimes wonder how much craft is genuinely necessary. Today’s players aren’t playing against yesterday’s players — they’ve all more or less come from the AAU system, so they’re all working from that template. How come some of them get it and some of them don’t? It’s more than just that system.

William: You know – what’s fascinating to me about the entire piece is how much time is devoted to the topic of Zach LaVine. Andrew Wiggins gets a little bit of attention, Karl-Anthony Towns is barely mentioned at all – those are the two franchise cornerstones! – but LaVine is the subject of huge swaths of the chat. LaVine’s development is both an enigmatic topic for Britt (I think we all recognize he is one of Zach’s most consistent critics) and is also a huge priority for the organization. In that respect, I guess I feel better, because I don’t think Sam would be this worked up if a) Zach didn’t possess such a high ceiling and b) the organization felt he was too much of a shithead to ever figure it out.

Tim: It’s clear that Mitchell has taken a special interest in LaVine’s success. Even during last night’s game, Mitchell was singing his praises after an excellent bounceback game against OKC. I love the effort and the meticulosity he’s bringing forward to help develop all the youngsters, though I find LaVine’s to be the most interesting. I’m not sure I’ve agreed with every step he’s taken with him (starting shooting guard, to backup point guard, to backup shooting guard, back to backup point guard, etc.), but I trust that he’s exhausting everything in his development arsenal to help move him along.

Zach: I guess I’m of a more old school mentality that if a player can’t prove they absolutely deserve minutes or can’t handle the mental anguish of a hard-nosed coach pushing them then they’re probably being weeded out of the core you are trying to build. I find what LaVine is going through to be pretty fascinating, as well. He’s struggling a lot right now and I am a fan of making him play out of position in order to foster a deeper skill set and better instincts that will help him thrive at his natural position. It also seems like Sam is getting to him a bit, based on recent post-game comments with LaVine admitting it can be tough. But I think it will show us who Zach is in the long run and that it will pay off one way or another. I think I feel better about the way Sam is approaching LaVine’s development, but feel the same as I always did about LaVine.


Q: Is Sam too caught up in physical attributes of his players or is this simply math the Wolves can’t avoid?

Steve: It’s difficult because while it’s true that the physical part of the game matters more than we think — a generation of basketball fans has been raised on video games where physics are simulated and a player’s weight doesn’t really affect the game — I think it’s also true that being so close to the physical part of the game can lead to assumptions. How many giants are drafted on the assumption they can hold their own and how many undersized guys are passed over even when they can really defend? As in all things, the important thing is to get to a deep, nuanced understanding of what guys are capable of, regardless of ideology about what’s important.

William: I think that’s a huge part of basketball that we don’t always appreciate as writers and fans – the pure mathematics of size, and strength, and all the minutiae that goes into gameplanning and scouting. Like, it’s one thing for us to say that Wiggins, LaVine, and Towns need to get stronger, but we all just sort of shrug and think, “Oh well, three or four years from now, after they’ve lifted a ton of weights and grown into their bodies, that won’t be a concern anymore.” Sam isn’t afforded that luxury. For him, a lack of size and strength has real, tangible consequences right NOW. I think it’s good to be reminded of that every now and then.

Tim: I get where he’s coming from on this one. As mentioned, Mitchell’s near-obsessive logs of each player’s development doesn’t just include activities with a basketball. And it shouldn’t. Mitchell likes to use the term “grown man weight” quite a bit, and mentions how valuable it is to a player’s success over a long season, and against bigger opponents. I’m inclined to believe the former player on this one.

Zach: I loved the stuff Sam said about the growth of Andrew Wiggins’ body and where he wants him to get stronger. I’ve talked about this with several people around the league and they’ve all said the same stuff that Mitchell believes when it comes to where he wants Wiggins to be physically. I also think he needs to trust the strength and body of someone like Karl-Anthony Towns more. He seems overly concerned about the weight Towns is giving up in certain matches and not trusting of what Towns can do with his physical stature in a way to counter his opponent. I think there’s a lot of good and some overly cautious stuff to extract from what Sam says here, but thinking smarter about how the Wolves’ young guys get stronger is definitely something Flip was all about.


Is the personnel really so inadequate at rebounding, or is there something else going on, here? It’s clearly a huge concern for Sam.

Steve: The rebounding thing is weird, for sure. If you watch the games, it feels like they’re awful at rebounding, and to hear Sam talk about it, they even feel like they’re bad at rebounding. They’re 26th in rebounds per 36 minutes, but their rebound percentage is middle of the road (15th at 49.8%). Maybe this is part of it: They’re 27th in uncontested defensive rebounds per game and 4th in contested defensive rebounds per game, which means the boards they are getting, they have to fight for. Sound familiar? It’s not just the offense that’s tough for this team — everything is a bit of a slog.

William: I don’t really know the answer, but it seems odd to me that a team that spends so much time inside the arc on offense can’t grab offensive rebounds (21st in offensive rebounding rate as of 1/12). They’re also about league average in overall rebounding rate, but given how often they play “big” lineups (Dieng with KAT, and now Pek with either of them) perhaps it’s fair to wonder if they should be better. Towns is a fine rebounder; I’d put some of the blame on Gorgui. He’s so keen to hunt for blocks that I feel like he’s often out of position to grab boards.

Tim: Pek’s return will help, but only some. It’s weird. I think Towns, Dieng, KG, Pek, and even Bjelica are decent-to-good rebounders, but they don’t seem to bring any down. Even Rubio and LaVine rebound the ball well (though, as Britt mentions in the interview, that means playing them 94 feet). Is it something simple, like boxing out (something even KG, a great rebounder in other ways, was never great at)? The stats listed above suggest a lack of effort, so it’s definitely something to look into, and definitely strange.

Zach: I agree with what Tim is saying here. I feel like the individually good rebounders exist, but I wonder why they aren’t better at rebounding as a team. Is it because of giving up long jumpers and the ninth most 3-pointers per 100 possessions? Does that take them out of more traditional rebounding zones and they’re slow to react to the ball? Towns, Bazz, KG, Dieng, and Pek are all good rebounders. Rubio is a good rebounder for a point guard. But something isn’t translating here and I don’t know how to quantify it. Their increasingly poor defense may mean they’re out of position and that can permeate into the rebounding.


What do you make of Sam’s claim that the Wolves had no streamlined, documented player development program prior to this season?

Steve: I long ago stopped being surprised at any organization at any level that evinces a lack of systems or completely broken systems. Consider the fact that the Wolves were one of the first teams to really push for SportVU cameras back in 2012 and yet where is the concrete evidence that they’ve really done something with that data? In organizations with a lot of moving parts, things fall by the wayside and it’s not necessarily in anyone’s personal best interest to make more work for themselves. It’s a problem, and it’s good to see it might be being tackled in this case.

William: If it’s true, it’s friggin’ insane. This was the most amazing revelation from part one of Britt’s conversation; I still can’t quite believe that Sam got the folders out and was showing them to a member of the media. It’s good, I think, to have a streamlined process, but again, I just wonder if Mitchell is the right guy to spearhead such an effort.

Tim: With regime changes occurring at a decent frequency the past 11 years, it wouldn’t surprise me if some groups documented their player development better than others. While all guessing on my part, I have my doubts this is the first time a Timberwolves coaching staff has ever documented the progress of their young guys. But who knows? I’m just glad that this year’s group is taking it seriously.

Zach: This doesn’t shock me nearly as much as it should, but I don’t think it means they didn’t believe they were doing the right thing in player development. I’m willing to throw out the entire David Kahn era as anything competent being possible when it comes to this stuff. They probably did stuff (charting, individual skills, etc.) but nothing in such an organized fashion. Flip and Milt Newton were banging the drum on player development when they came here so I think that with the inclusion of Ryan Saunders and Bryan Gates was a long time coming, but ultimately inevitable.


Perhaps a follow up to that. Do you feel more or less confident in Sam since reading the article? Does the article lead you to believe the organization will remove the interim tag? Why or why not? (This is a SPECULATIVE question, not a “SHOULD THEY? question.)

Steve: I have always felt that Mitchell is doing good work with the young players on an individual basis, especially with regard to trying to hammer home some of the fundamentals that players are missing out on nowadays in AAU and the one year of college many of them get. If Mitchell is not the coach next year and the Wolves start to look good, it’s too bad that he won’t get enough credit for the groundwork he’s laying right now. But I also don’t think he should be the coach next year. My opinion, though, doesn’t count for much. Based strictly on this franchise’s woeful history with regard to making the tough choices when it comes to personnel, I think Mitchell will still be the head coach next year, minus the interim tag.

William: My level of confidence in Sam is about the same. My level of confidence that the Timberwolves will open things up this coming summer to find a new power structure, including the coach, has dwindled considerably. This conversation was, in some ways, a PR boon for Mitchell; it shows he’s committed to development in very tangible ways, and it reinforces (from his perspective, anyway) just how far he has to go with the young players. Glen Taylor is a very loyal guy. I think Mitchell will be the head coach on Opening Night in October.

Tim: My thoughts on him didn’t change much after reading. The young talent Flip Saunders put together has progressed well individually, and to Sam’s credit, he isn’t asking them to do more than they should right now. In the interview, and in several past occasions, he reminds us all that the core is full of 20 year olds. I trust him with the youngsters. In regards to the way he runs and offense?  I’m still not sure his style fits this team long-term, so in that respect, the level of trust in him is also unchanged.

Zach: My confidence level in Sam is still the same. I’m not sure how capable he is of being the solution with many issues regarding the organization, but I also think we’re overanalyzing everything he does to a petty degree. He doesn’t get credit for the good and he gets skewered for the bad. I’m not exactly with that. In terms of whether or not I believe Glen Taylor is going to give Sam a shot at being the coach moving forward after the season, I’ll put it like this. I’m much more concerned with whether or not the Wolves decide to hire a front office person to replace Milt or work over Milt while retaining him as an influential but not the main decision-maker. After that, the coaching decision will be made. I think Glen is far more cutthroat when it comes to this stuff than he used to be, but that doesn’t mean sentimentality won’t make an appearance and keep everybody on board.

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8 Responsesso far.

  1. pyrrol says:

    This is a cool idea for a roundtable. Roundtable fantasy camp!

    I guess I don’t feel more understanding. The interview was a good reminder that Sam had no time to concoct his own system before he took over for the season. Given this, one would expect our system to be related to Flip’s and share some faults. But the interview didn’t show us that Sam is trying to change or evolve that system to work for him, our player or our circumstances. He spends time defending it by suggesting we don’t have the shooting for anything else, which sounds like someone doubling down on the inherited system rather than trying to evolve away from it. Also of note, Sam does a really poor, simplified job of running a Flip-style offense.

    The Zach stuff got pretty odd for me and shed some light on Sam’s though process. He talked about how Zach got denied the ball 3 times in a row when playing point because he didn’t know basic cuts and speed change. I think Sam pointed this out to put into perspective how basic the teaching he has to constantly do is. But it comes off not as a free pass for Sam but as a shock he hasn’t been able to teach some of these things by now, get them to stick. He assistant coached Zach all last year. He’s coached him in summer league, training camp, and preseason twice, and now head coached him for near half a season. So that story kind of backfired. He also talked about how Zach dribbles before a shot out of habit, something that could be changed so he can catch and shoot during his gym rat hours (but remains unfixed). I disagree that Zach at the 1 will make him a better 2–it’s actually set him back on his 2 skills so much that Sam hasn’t had the courage to put him out there as a 2 for long stretches.

    Yes, Sam is too caught up on physical things. The way he talks, we are tiny team. We are skinny, not tiny, and frankly it’s not such a big deal. His Cleveland/Towns example was odd and bad to support the theory (which is silly negativity) that we just can’t physically compete most nights. That’s a red herring. I do agree with his focus on getting players bigger and stronger, into the right weights for their bodies. That’s helpful. His idea that Wiggins is too small to play 3 is undermined by the perhaps skinnier Prince starting at that spot. In general, he needs to focus on other things so long as we are working toward getting stronger. Pek is helpful in getting some meat on our bones.

    This is related–we have some guys who rebound well, but not meaty guys (minus Pek who just got back). That explains it a little. But on a team that is such a wreck on offense and defense, and gets beat in transition because of how we play on both sides of the ball, well, that puts us in a bad position to rebound well and do a lot of other things we should be doing better. It is a personnel problem too–Towns is talented and hardworking, but being so young he is still learning the NBA rebounding tricks. Dieng has issues with rebounding and his body type is tough.. he’s too skinny to muscle rebounds and too awkward to use speed and agility like Garnett. Garnett is too old to be anything special on the glass. More Bjellica will actually help, but during his rough stretch Sam just benched him. Pek will help, but he’s a salt of the earth rebounder. Rudez might help a little, Payne is capable of impressive snatches, but too bad fundamentally to be consistent. We could use another really good rebounder. Also, Wiggins hasn’t been doing his part. I’ve been time and time again impressed with Rubio’s varied rebounding, but we need it from bigs.

    The claim of no systematic development files is a bit surprising, but Sam’s more organized approach has led to regression, sooo… I get the feeling he’s too interesting in the individual pieces and their progress on specific goals (that oddly show little or no progress often) and not interested in how the team is working as a unit. It doesn’t matter how many things he checks off in binders if in doesn’t show up in team play and result in occasional wins. Squinting at the minutia of developmental details seem to be resulting in big important things falling through the cracks and an on the court product that stinks and has gotten worse over the season. That’s more alarming than lack of binders.

    It’s nice to hear where Sam is coming from, but there wasn’t a eureka moment where suddenly what looks like bad coaching makes sense. This question seems Wolvesy. Given the product we’ve seen, the strategic shortcomings, the way the team has played, the confusion, the lack of effort (see Wiggins in Cleveland versus all other cities), it seems a normal franchise would laugh at the idea of keeping Sam as their coach. Of course not! Lip service doesn’t matter, results do, and Sam simply hasn’t had the right results, but his explanations are also thin, at times illogical, and full of excuses. He’s not a leader–he takes no ownership of our troubles and instead crabs about the kids and AAU (as pointed out, other teams have mostly AAU kids on their teams…) Taking the tag away implies ‘hired’ and the Wolves didn’t interview anyone yet. Sam’s audition started nicely, but has gone so rotten, I do think we should cut ties at seasons end and try to freshen things up. What the organization will do is another matter…

  2. gjk says:

    Looks like Part 2 is up. Some interesting nuggets to chew on in that one.

    The question of whether these young guys are improving during the season is tricky. For one, the details of the sport are hard to pick up on if one is just watching casually and doesn’t go back to look at it again. It’s possible that things are happening at that level that aren’t showing up in the boxscore, particularly because their schedule has become tougher. Second, everything about sports should make us assume that players will get worse, not better, as the season progresses because guys rarely are more rested or healthy late in the season than they were early. Third, most leaps happen through offseason work; it’s probably the main reason Rubio hasn’t really improved much since his rookie season, as injury recovery and national team commitments take up so much of his summers. Once those leaps happen, the guys have some time to surprise opponents with their new skills, but then the opponents adjust, and the players have to adjust as well. That seems like what they’re going through now.

    As for his future, if Milt’s and Sam’s jobs are as appealing as some have speculated and potential minority owner Steve Kaplan has strong input, this process will look different than it did in the past as long as Taylor doesn’t do something off-putting (like tell Dennis Lindsey he has to keep the front office staff that has existing contracts). Some decent coaches will be out there, whether it’s the hot names at the moment (Walton), current coaches who could be out (Hornacek, Joerger, Gentry?), or guys not in the league (JVG, Brooks, Thibs). With that said, this team might cycle through at least one other development coach and then figure out they need a strategist to really compete. Hopefully, they could get both. The other tricky part would be if KG attached his future to Sam’s. I don’t know if that tendency still exists for him, but I’d maybe put up with another year of Mitchell if it meant another year of KG. Maybe.

  3. skune says:

    I do feel a little more confident in Sam after reading his interview with Britt. Here are a few things I thought bolstered his case as a guy we want at the helm this year and the next and some things that I think he skips over:

    The GOOD: His comments about LaVine give some great insight on why he’s struggling to be successful and why development isn’t easy. Zach is known gym rat, but he if his mistakes are primarily mental ones or things that you can’t fix by spending hours in the gym alone, he isn’t going to get better. Not getting into his defensive stance, not shooting off the catch, failing to create separation with your cuts, and wasting your dribble are bad habits that a lot of guys overcome with strengths in other areas, but when you put them all together… how can you entrust a guy like this to be your floor general? Zach’s lack of knowing how to cut speaks volumes to why he struggles to move without the ball and why neither the PG or SG experiment has worked well, yet. And it’s not for Sam’s lack of trying.

    His notes about Wiggins learning to counter teams sending a double team on his post-ups and teaching Bazzy how to play nice with his teammates without having his eyes glued to the rim are solid observations and I trust he’s doing the right thing in coaching them up.

    I have wondered aloud how this team can be so bad at getting buckets in transition with all of their athletic and bouncy individuals but it finally dawned on me: They can’t afford to leak out because they can’t rebound well. It seems backward that a team like this that can put 5 guys that are more athletic at every position than the ’13-’14 wolves are worse at transition buckets. But when you had reliable rebounders/outlet passers in Love and Pek, KMart and Brewer could leak to their hearts desire. But when all five guys are rebounding and the guys that are rebounding aren’t looking to push the pace with their outlet passes, it makes sense why we aren’t getting more fast break opportunities.

    The BAD: Mitchell has ABSOLUTELY got to get his team to shoot less long 2’s and more 3’s; no excuses. The Wolves are abysmal at shooting from beyond the arc, but if they are passing up 24ft shots for 18ft shots, the math is not in their favor. They’re scoring .76 pts per shot on midrange attempts and .97 pts per shot on 3’s. Yet, for some reason they’ve shot 1160 midrange jumpers this year and only 580 threes. The Rockets and Warriors have proven that while it takes a change in mindset, you can flip those ratios. If they would’ve flipped the script on their shot selection just this year, they could’ve scored as many as 122 more points this year and more than 3pts more per game. That small differential could easily be worth almost 5 wins by now. And that’s assuming that they still stay terrible at shooting 3’s and won’t get better with practice!

    His focus on physical stuff seems like a red herring. Sam has a point that it takes more energy to guard bigger and stronger opponents; even at pickup games, two-inches and 30lbs makes a big difference in how tough your assignment is. But look at his double-speak. He says he likes playing Wigs at 2 instead of the 3 to protect him from the likes of guarding Durant and LeBron but then talks about how they mismanaged Joel Pryzbilla by having him bulk up like he was facing Shaq. What the heck? Wiggins has adequate size and strength to guard three quarters of the small-forwards in the league and when he doesn’t… he still might be the best option our team has to pick them up. He’s getting roasted defensively by quick and rangey 2 guards this year and the LeBron’s, Durants, and Kawhi Leonards giving him fits at SF are the exceptions, not the rules. Ultimately, I think Wiggins is a small forward… no way around it. And when Wiggins plays two, that usually means there is only one guy on the court who can make plays with his dribble. Most teams are experimenting with having MORE guys with guard skills on the court while we’re running backwards by having less guys with guard skills on the floor.

    The AAU excuse about bad habits may be true, but as everyone has pointed out: the whole next generation of players have been raised on AAU ball. They are playing other guys with similar backgrounds. Some of those guys actually have fairly good fundamentals. I’m wondering if we just took flyers on guys who got the raw end of the AAU experience.

  4. Mebert says:

    The size thing makes a lot of sense to me, when I played High School ball I also ran Cross Country, so I was a stick, but could run for days and had a solid jump. I could never rebound back then like I do now that I am 35 pounds over weight in the pick up game I am in. I mean I am worse at everything else, but once I get position I keep it and that is nice……

  5. seanie blue says:

    Great roundtable. Interesting insight into the four of you and how you look at the game, at the team, and even at each other. Very interesting. Looking forward to what you guys make of Robson’s part 2. Can you not make your interview/roundtable longer? Your readership isn’t afraid of lengthy insight. I would like to know what organizations and leadership each of you would emulate, since you see so much of the other teams. Who are the personalities to pursue? And what do you think will be the consequence of keeping the front office as is? Surely we lose Wiggins and KAT in several seasons if that happens? And there must be more examination of the Wolves’ inability to modernize: how does Taylor run his other companies? Do they not have a system for checking the ongoing performance of staff and critical hires? And none of you touched on the summer requirements Mitchell is proposing. This is a huge axis on which the club’s future can swing: Do you think the players will buy into this idea?

    As for the rebounding issue, I thought Zach almost stumbled into it. If I remember, at least tow of you played competitive basketball, so you can visualize yourself watching your teammates: You’re boxing out or fighting for position, but glancing at the action around you, aware of it generally even as you concentrate on where you are, and you know a teammate is applying pressure properly as you see a shooter go up. At that instant you focus on the glass, the basket, and the proximity of your marked opponent, and you’ve got one second to leap at the ball when it hits its destination. But what happens if your teammate allows another pass, and then the next teammate gives up another pass, perhaps this one on the bounce, and you’re fighting for position while trying to estimate when the shooter will go up. The difference in a team’s defensive approach determines which of these two scenarios you are in: sure that your teammate has pressured the shot and knowing where the shot is coming from, or unsure until the last instant of when and even where the shot is going up and coming from. If you know you’ve got good defense, two rebounders get that extra focus on the rim and glass and flight of the incoming shot. If your defense allows three or five crisp passes, especially in and out of the paint, you can’t fight for your position and anticipate the shot because you have to pay attention to the progress of the play and the angle from which the ball will be falling into a rebounding situation. The difference between the two scenarios is less than half a second from the moment a player rises or sets to shoot. It’s critical. The Spurs and the Thunder are great to watch for this difference: their defenses are so nimble and properly positioned that they’ve always got an advantage of not just commanding the glass but then launching into transition. The fact that Rubio gets 5 rebounds is a bad sign, not a good one, because it means he’s not ready to attack.

    And speaking of Rubio: skinny legs. He’s a stellar talent, with lightning-quick reflexes. But he plays a lateral game and will always be turning his ankle or creaking a knee. I LOVED that story about Olajuwon and the 135 pounds! I hope you guys expound on Rubio at your next roundtable. I think he should be traded before he breaks to pieces! (And I lived in Spain for years and adore him as a player.)

  6. Frank North says:

    I just read the interview and have not visited here for a few days so after I finished reading it this was the first place I checked. You guys never disappoint.
    I could actually feel Mitchell’s frustration in reading that article. And my sense was, just as he was lamenting his own team’s inability to quickly pick up what he was trying to teach them due to their lack of previous quality coaching, I could not help but feel he was just as inadequate in teaching. If you have (in his words) repeated something “over and over and over” again. Then it’s the method of the message.
    Anyone who has ever taught anything (I train people as part of my job) You know that the first time someone does not understand what it is you’re telling them, repeating it is tantamount to the old lady who believes if she just talks louder to the person who does not understand english that they’ll get it.
    You have got to know how to explain things from different angles until it clicks. Now maybe LaVine is just stupid, I don’t know. Maybe his concentration level is on par with Michael Beasley’s.
    Whatever the case, I am not sure (even more so after reading the article) if Sam Mitchell is the right guy for the job, or if he will ever be able to get this group to where they need to go.
    I do know Scott Brooks has been here before and was able to take Durant, Westbrook, and Harden to that next level. He is available, and I believe would be the perfect fit for this club.

    • bpechek says:

      But to be fair I doubt it’s an issue of understanding. Personally I have seen some videos and received some coaching and training on my golf swing. I understand how a proper golf swing goes, and what I’m doing wrong. Yet if I were to go golfing right now, I’d use my old bad form on account of the fact that I can hit the ball pretty well my way, and I miss it altogether more often than not the right way.

      I’m not that serious about golf, so my current level is ok. But if I ever wanted to really improve, I’d have to work with an instructor, unlearn my bad habits, and use a completely different form.

      In the process of doing that I’d get a lot worse, often unconsciously revert to my old form, yell a lot of curse words, etc, before finally getting better. And I’m sure Sam is facing all the same sorts of things in teaching his players new stuff. Basically he’s trying to change organismic behavior. And that simply takes time.

    • Geoff says:

      I agree with Brooks. I have wanted him from the start. Tibbs may fix the defense, but the offense would still be horrible.

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