Candid Sam Mitchell delivers lengthy postgame remarks


Last night’s loss to the Bucks at home was both familiar and strange.

The familiar: Minnesota lost at home, again, falling to 5-13 in their own building, the third-worst mark in the NBA (ahead of only the Lakers and Sixers). The Wolves took just 14 threes, and made just 3 of them. Minnesota was plus-9 during the 33 minutes Ricky Rubio was on the court, and minus-19 during his 15 minutes of rest. Gorgui Dieng turned the ball over 4 times, and has 18 total turnovers over his past 5 games, but continues to be blessed with a long leash. Towns and Muhammad, despite their solid play, continue to have short ones.

The strange: Milwaukee went most of the first quarter without making a field goal, registering their first bucket with 3:21 to go in the period. O.J. Mayo completely lost his mind and had to be forcibly restrained by several teammates and coaches after he was ejected. The Wolves offense was stagnant for almost the entire night, but Ricky Rubio and Zach LaVine hooked up on a sweet alley-oop out of nowhere. Ricky, by the way, was the Wolves’ leading scorer for much of the night, before Andrew Wiggins finally got it going in the fourth quarter.

Also out of the ordinary: interim coach Sam Mitchell gave long, candid postgame answers about the state of his team. This season, he’s reiterated time and time again that the Wolves are young, and stated that everyone’s expectations need to be adjusted accordingly. But last night he expounded upon what that youth really means, and the kinds of challenges it presents to the coaching staff, in very specific ways.

For example, he turned a pretty basic question about offensive struggles into to a long explanation of the young players’ bad habits and where they come from:

Once we get past (Ricky Rubio, Tayshaun Prince, and Kevin Garnett), we’ve got all young guys out there in that second unit. The execution, picks, spacing, timing – that’s all we do with our young guys. That’s what we work on every day. Habits. They’ve just got bad habits.

Those habits aren’t going to change (quickly). These are habits that have been acquired, that people who are supposed to have coached them have let them do for years. And we’re trying to break those habits because they’re not conducive to winning. Those are bad NBA basketball habits to have. When you were playing high school, college, AAU, or whatever, you could get away with that because you were the most talented guy on the floor. (But) everybody in the NBA can play, everybody, otherwise they wouldn’t have a uniform. So if you think you can do what you did a year ago in AAU, or one year of college, you’re sadly mistaken.

I played four years of college. I was joking with some of the assistant coaches – I walked around hunched over all the time because all we did was slide drills. So when we got on the court, I didn’t know anything else besides getting into a stance on offense and defense. Look at how many times our guys are standing straight up. We show it to them on tape, we work on it every day. Why do you think, during training camp, we did slide drills. You think we did that because I’m stupid? We went back to basics because we realized they haven’t gotten them.

I’ve been doing slide drills since the 8th grade. AAU don’t do sliding drills because the guy who owns the hardware store runs the team, but he never coached! He never took a coaching class or learned how to coach. It’s just some dude that’s got some money for sneakers and gear that’s coaching you. So what’s he going to do? He’s going to roll the ball out there, and jump and scream, and they think that’s coaching. That’s not coaching. That’s not teaching technique. That’s not teaching a guy how to set up his man when he’s coming off a screen to get an open shot. That’s not teaching the habit of every time you catch the ball, instead of putting the ball over your head and turning sideways, you rip through and into a triple threat to create some spacing, so you can get the defender off of you and see.

Those are habits. Our young guys, right now, the catch the ball and (put it over their heads). That’s what you do in AAU basketball. So we’re trying to break all those habits. You can’t play basketball standing up, you’ve got to be in a stance on both ends. You gotta be ready to shoot. What our guys don’t understand, is, if you’re standing straight up and I pass you the ball, what’s the first thing you’re going to do before you shoot? Bend your knees, get ready. So pros (are bent already) because they’re anticipating the ball coming. When it comes, they’ve got an extra split second to get the shot off. Young guys are standing (straight up), oh, now you throw it to me, oh, now I’ll go into my shot. It’s too late.”

Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press then asked if he’d like to see Karl-Anthony Towns drive to the rim when his shot isn’t falling. Mitchell answered (“Yeah, that, or move it to the weak side”), but then basically continued his train of thought from before, addressing his entire team:

… I left them out there for a reason. And I was hoping a little embarrassment set in on how they were playing. Sometimes, that’s gotta be part of their medicine.

You know, sometimes as coaches, we try to save them too much. We don’t want their feelings to get hurt. We don’t want them to get embarrassed. But when you get your butt kicked you need to be embarrassed. That’s how you wake up. Every coach in that locker room that played basketball at a high level got their butt kicked. There were nights I wanted to crawl under the floor, dig a hole, and crawl home – that’s how bad I played. But those nights stuck with me. And some nights the coach left me out there, and he’d tell me afterward, “I left you out there for a reason – don’t let this happen to you again.””

Jon followed up by asking if Mitchell thought the guys in the locker room were embarrassed:

When you guys go in the locker room, ask them. I think so. If they weren’t we’ve got the wrong guys on our team, and I’ll say that. And you can quote me on saying that. If somebody in there isn’t embarrassed about how they played, we’ve got some wrong guys in that locker room.

A bit of analysis…

I’ve been critical of Mitchell this season, as most writers have, and extremely critical of the offense and shot selection. But if you put all that aside for a moment, and simply consider what he’s saying, it’s very interesting insight into what the coaches are dealing with. And not just the coaches, either; Kevin Garnett and Tayshaun Prince don’t contribute much to the box score, but when they are on the court, everything works smoothly. People are in the right places, setting screens, getting decent shots – and it’ because they have good habits. They make Wiggins, Towns, Muhammad, and LaVine look better purely by association.

The frustration, I think, is that Mitchell understands that the young guys have to play, even though it’s painful for everyone involved. What I appreciate about Mitchell’s candor is that he goes into detail about the little things the team is working on. It’s not just saying, “we’re young,” and leaving it at that. He explains the problems that all the inexperience causes. But there’s no way around it; when they’re on the court without a veteran, or when the second unit is out there without Ricky Rubio to set everybody up and direct traffic, the bad habits really start to take over.

On the flip side, of course, every team in the league has to deal with youth – perhaps not to the Timberwolves’ extreme, but this is the bed the team made, and Mitchell has been asked to sleep in it. It’s also completely fair to wonder if Mitchell is really the right guy to be tasked with breaking those habits, and then building them up to try to maximize their potential.

To be perfectly frank, despite Mitchell’s abrasiveness with the media and primordial offense, I find him a somewhat sympathetic figure, here. Think about it from his perspective – one of his closest friends and colleagues passed away in August, leaving him in the difficult spot of taking over for him. However, he has no real assurances beyond one season – a situation very few NBA coaches find themselves in. If the team decides to go another direction this summer, he’ll be gone – he cant be retained as an assistant after having the head job for an entire year. It’d be too weird. He’s never really been a front office candidate, either – his roots are in coaching and teaching. So instead of a multiyear gig as an assistant, it’s possible he’ll get one crack at the top job, with a roster full of inexperienced players, and that’s it.

If he spends the season working on fundamentals, and Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine, Shabazz Muhammad and Tyus Jones have anything to show for it afterward, perhaps that’s all we can really ask.

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16 Responsesso far.

  1. sportsbygreg says:

    I agree with your assessment of the situation. I’m going to keep a few things to myself in this post because I don’t have any nice things to say, and believe it or not I’m a very nice and caring guy… especially when it comes to bashing people and their feelings. But I’m also an honest guy who can’t sugar coat anything when it comes to analyzing and breaking down teams (coaches, players, ect). I’m actually a high school football color and studio analyst, so I guess I can’t help it sometimes. With all that being said, I do agree with a lot of what Mitchell has to say, but I still don’t think he’s the right guy for this job, and I actually like him as a person. It’s just that this team needs a make over from upper management on down to the coaching staff. But last night’s game was on the players. I know about the youth, but the team just doesn’t have any kind of fight or heart, and offer no kind of resistance or resolve. I honestly knew they would blow the lead, regardless who was on the court, because it’s just the mental fragile make-up of this team. I actually think this is a very UNDERACHIEVING team, and honestly may be the worst team in the NBA. Horrid franchise and looks like the Cleveland Browns of the NBA. They don’t care-Philly will probably run them out of the gym tomorrow. Besides, I’m still waiting for that KG, Prince and Miller veteran presence to rub off in a positive way on the team, because I haven’t seen it yet. But, in the defense of those guys, these young guys just don’t seem to have a tough mentality. I guess you can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip. I love Ricky Rubio’s post game comments about the team (mainly directed at the young players). He was dead on by saying they seem more interested with looking cool, rather than seriously caring about winning and seizing opportunities. It’s about trying to get at least an 8th seed and getting some kind of playoff experience. He was also right about it’s getting to the point where it’s too late for that because of all the lack luster losses. And the schedule is only about to get rougher. I’m a conspiracy theorist to a degree… Even though the team had the worst record in the league last year, I honestly think the NBA wanted to pair Wiggins with Towns. But I guarantee their fed up with this Minnesota franchise, so Ben Simmons will NOT be headed to the Wolves-Trust me on that! I also agree with Sam about lowering our expectations, which I came to grips with a couple weeks ago. Forget about the youth, x&o’s, analytics, floor spacing,3 point shooting, ect. This team just doesn’t have the mental toughness. Even when they are playing with energy on defense and scrambling and hustling, can’t even stay focused enough to do that for 48 minutes. If someone placed a gun to my head and made me pick the winner of tomorrows game, I honestly would have to pick the Sixers. #Underachievers #Losers #Too Cool #Don’t Care #Expect to Lose #No fight or resolve #Lottery………. Sorry, I couldn’t help it! Nice blog but I digress.

    • seanie blue says:

      Hey Sportsby: Let’s mae you the GM and give you a blank check to hire anyone you want that you think would do better than Mitchell is doing right now. Go ahead, drop a name. Same for Pyrrol and Gjk: give us a name to put in charge of the basketball side of things. And what about the front office? Still like Newton or got another name you’d stick in there? The team plays badly, is organized badly, has a goon of an owner setting standards, and we’re still buying tickets and watching the ads during the timeouts. I’m amazed at how much smoke and mirror foolishness the Minnesota fan endures. We whine and howl, but there is never an alternative offered? Who can step in and save this place?

  2. skune says:

    Great article, Will. I agree with your general take on Mitchell. He all at once seems like both an abrasive, condescending jerk who is tactically out of his depth and married to an out-dated version of the game but also a good man, trying his best in an unenviable situation, fed up with trying to teach guys who should still be in college with infinite talent and egos how to execute some of the most basic and fundamental skills of the game. It must be frustrating to see high-school level mistakes on tape committed by guys getting paid millions. In that way, I agree that he is somewhat a sympathetic figure.

    I don’t fully buy his argument that we are losing games just because guys aren’t getting into their stance or receiving the ball in a triple-threat position. There are plenty of guys that get away with not having perfect old-school fundamentals. But there definitely is light-years difference in the 1st-2nd year guys and veterans in knowing where to be on both ends of the court. For all the improvement I’ve seen in individual defensive efforts of LaVine, Shabazz, Wiggins, Payne, and Dieng, they may be five of the worst guys I’ve ever watched in terms of playing solid team defense and making the right defensive rotations. The only times that they are effective is when their mistakes are covered up by playing alongside KG, Prince, Rubio, and Towns or are bailed out by cold-shooting. It surely must be a tough situation for Coach Mitchell to figure out how to play guys that need minutes but are still completely lost on one end of the court.

    This jury of one is still deciding whether the weight of the slow development of the young guys lies more on the side of the players themselves or the coaching staff. It is probably a mix of both, but if Sam wants the respect of his team, he’ll take responsibility for their youthful mistakes whether he deserves to or not. Scapegoating is a surefire way to build animosity among your players.

    As a long-term option, it remains to be seen if Sam is a viable candidate. Sam acts like he knows everything about basketball which is dangerous in a league in which coaches have to be constantly adapting to an ever evolving tactical landscape. Guys like Brad Stevens, Budenholzer, and Popovich are constantly getting the maximum value out of rosters with clear talent-limitations and I don’t know if Mitchell is a guy who can do the same here in MN. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

  3. pyrrol says:

    Is this an Onion article? After that pathetic game, Sam goes on an extended rant about how this game is players’ fault because they didn’t learn all of the fundamentals he would have liked them to pick up yet? After over a third of the season? There’s so many holes in this logic and self-excuses oozing from this kind of talk.

    I don’t have any sympathy for Sam. He was once head coach material and coached his way out of it. By circumstance he got an opportunity to be a head coach, a chance to work his way back into that role in the league. He’s simply failing at it. Assuming the Wolves are smart enough to part ways with him at season’s end, I’m sure he’ll have options to be an assistant somewhere.

    Your flip side hits the nail on the head: Why is this only a problem for us? Granted, we are one of the younger teams, but according to Sam’s logic it prevents us from possibly being able to play competitive ball, from having basic fundamentals. That’s just not true. It is particularly ironic to go on a rant like this in front of Wolves fans, because we experienced one of the first out of high school players, and he ended up being the best player in franchise history and a guy with great fundamentals and knowledge of the game. And this started early in Garnett’s career–he is a special player, but still, his learning curve was nowhere near what Sam argues the curve suddenly is for all our college age players in the league. As you say, no, I don’t think Sam is the right guy to maximize our young potential. It can’t be that hard to teach some of these basics that Sam complains guys missed learning early in our flawed basketball culture. You measure that stuff in months.

    There is so much that goes into being a basketball team that it is easy to misdiagnose problems. Clearly, a young team is going to make mistakes that make it hard to win some nights. But Sam puts his players in a situation that is hard to win in and hard to learn in. This has a cumulative effect—it erodes their young confidence, magnifying their youthful indiscretions on the court, and simply making success at every aspect that much harder. Basketball is a game totally reliant on confidence and momentum and you have to put players in a position where they can build momentum, learn and step forward, as well as be confident and not get too down. So what appears to be an uncoachable, too young to compete team is really a team misguided with bad strategy, mediocre coaching and bad teaching. We aren’t putting our guys in a position to win. They aren’t failing Sam, Sam is failing them–he’s throwing them under the bus twice over. He puts them in an archaic, simplistic offense, and a non-adjusting flawed defense that makes the players look bad and makes every game a struggle for them, and when he doesn’t get the results that people want he blames the players and their fundamentals, and by implication, their ability to learn. (From my observations, many of our guys have shown the ability to grow and learn under the right tutelage, to adapt and add things to their game. To me it looks like they just need the right teacher, a better system, and of course time.)

    A window into this issue it the three point debate. It’s becoming an alarming two sided problem. We all know that the Wolves take a bottom of the league amount of threes a game. But now it is becoming tough to argue, despite appearances of tough luck and coincidentally hot teams, that we aren’t remarkably bad at defending three point shooting, too. In general, we’ve been on a stretch wherein we allow teams to shoot a very high overall percent, particularly late. But it is our allowance of great three point shooting us that is killing us the most on D right now. The Milwaukee game was illustrative. Here we took a low number of threes, and many of them were bad threes (we seemed hesitant on our shots in general all night which is a shooting death sentence). Rubio was again out best three point threat. This is a losing strategy. Yet, we were playing one of the few teams that doesn’t take a lot of threes. Perhaps we could get away with it! Milwaukee only took 16 threes to our 14, but they hit half of them. We hit 3, they hit 8. You could argue that we were really screwed up on D (allowing 42% from a team that hardly had a field goal in the first quarter–this included a lot of easy dunks) and offense (we shot 39% and our bench is in trouble so far under Tyus). But it’s a red flag when you can’t even keep in a team like Milwaukee’s ball park on three pointers. Throwing the guys under the bus…

  4. sportsbygreg says:

    Again, the coaching sucks, but so does the mental toughness of these players. Simple as that. We all agree Sam is not the guy, but a lot of these games are just lost on no heart. And coaches can’t coach heart. Yeah, Sam is terrible but so is the mental make up of these players. I want put all the blame on Sam because there have been too many times where these players just checked out. Sometimes you have to take it upon yourself as a player to get the job done no matter what. So, as much as I bash Sam, what player is going to be a superstar and get this team so victories no matter what? I’m tired of hearing about the age. Time to get it done. PERIOD.

    • pyrrol says:

      Not sure what exactly we have in these players yet, but I’m pretty sure a really good coach would make this a night and day contrast, everything else equal. You see Wolves teams playing like that a lot, and I think some of them have been busts and some of them (Towns, Rubio, Wiggins) are talented guys that belong in the association. The common denominator is inadequate coaching. We were asking the same questions during the Love era. And lord help us, even when we got Aldeman, he was washed up (as it is, he’s been our best coach in a long time and with better health may have gotten us somewhere). This is not to say the Love era teams were good, or that this team is good yet (we know for sure they are too young to be good yet, we can guess if they ever will be). But the thread is that we underachieve under the coaches we have for the talent we have available. The way the season started was like stumbling across a cool spring in a desert–we weren’t lighting the league in fire, but we were at least not underachieving. An example of a coach right now who is overachieving with what he has is Brad Stevens in Boston, and he’s young to boot. I’m jealous. I really think if we could get a guy like that, with a really good staff of teachers so many of our problems would be solved without player changes, although our roster is not complete and changes will be coming.

      Part of me wonders if my judgement on this matter is colored by fantasy. I WANT it to be coaching, because it is easier to get a good coach than to rebuild the roster with ‘winners’. We’ve taken an exhaustive amount of time finally putting together a decent young core of guys with real talent for this level of play. But are they ‘winners,’ do they have the mentality to be great? Will they ever get it? If the answer is mostly no, we are screwed. If we simply need to replace Mitchell with a good coach and give it some time, there’s a lot of hope. I honestly don’t know the answer to this blame question, but my read now tends to involve coaching as a culprit. I’ve convinced myself that coaching is creating a lot of the confusion, frustration, and inability to get beyond certain things, which can look night to night like we have a roster of stupid, softy losers. (It is different for every player. Rubio is doing basically what we need as a good team, I still have faith Wiggins will put it together, I’m not worried about Towns at all, Deing has lost my confidence, I see him as a bench big only, Shabazz is a big wildcard, LaVine is showing flexible incandescent ability, but frustrates to a worrisome degree…) But I think all our weaknesses and flaws, all the inexperience is magnified so much by the situation our coaching puts us in, so my chips are on working at finding good coaching, and if that doesn’t work blowing up some things.

  5. gjk says:

    Lots of different parts to this. As for the game, I was somewhat incredulous that they played so poorly offensively in the 4th, but the Bucks’ defense was impressive. David Kahn’s dream came true across the border. With that said, it’s annoying to see them blow 2 winnable home games during a tough stretch because Sam wanted the youngsters to take their lumps. The youngsters don’t think quickly when they’re on the floor, and it seems like every offensive possession against a decent defense is like, “C’mon…Just let me do this…” Their counters to resistance are to double-down on the strategy the opponent is prepared for.

    Side thought: as much as I have like Jim Pete’s game commentary in the past, he’s got to stop propping up Tyus at the expense of the other bench guys. Several times, he’s said that Tyus is “basically going through training camp right now” and then criticizes the other bench players. I get that he’s seeing live action for the first time, but this is in no way “training camp” for him, and saying that is disingenuous. He gives up on running offense too easily for a guy whose strengths lie solely on that end of the floor, and his defense is horrendous for a “proven winner” and “born leader.” He’s the main variable in why that bench has coughed up these leads.

    Sam’s words are interesting in several ways. The first thought I had went back to my low-level traveling team days and the different ways I learned how to play basketball. Even as someone who grew up in a small school that was really serious about boys’ basketball, we mostly just played 5-on-5 up until like 5th grade, with zero drills. My 6-year-old nephew is a better dribbler than I was at 10. When it came to traveling team games, even though we played with a similar group and ran the same offense (grades 7-12 ran the same base offense with more options at older grades), practices were way different in attention to detail and level of discipline. I can’t imagine AAU teams have the same type of structured, disciplined practices that a high school would, and they don’t have the benefit of a system that was consistent with the high school one.

    Regarding the Wolves’ skills, this was written on this site (I think by Zach) about Ryan Saunders when he was hired: “I asked around the league… The resounding sentiment regarding Ryan Saunders is he’s legitimately qualified to be given this position … The biggest thing he helped with Beal and Wall was their ball-handling. Multiple ‘sources’ (that sounds so official!) told me John Wall had never really worked on his dribbling before he got to the NBA.” These guys get about 6 months of Bill Self or John Calipari, but how much did they really need to develop team or individual skills before that? It’s not out of the realm of possibility that it’s necessary. With that said, tons of these players populate the league, so the critique of AAU has limited value, though it’s obvious that young players in this league rarely have a lot of team success in their first 2 years in the league. All one needs to do is Google how long it took the best in the league to make the playoffs and who was on their team when it happened; the successful ones had good vets in their primes surrounding them. Dwyane Wade is probably the most successful rookie of the modern group, and his team barely finished over .500 with good talent all around.

    Philosophically, it’s in their best interests to nurture Towns and Wiggins; unless they could get an All-Star age 25 or younger for Wiggins, their hopes for future success rest on the shoulders of these 2. The rest of the youngsters need to prove they have one or more rotation-caliber skills. In the Rambis-Kahn era, they gave unlimited minutes to a bunch of guys barely hanging on in the league. Everyone got on Adelman for not playing Bazz and Dieng until later in their rookie seasons, but they at least seem motivated to earn their time now, though they’re probably not as talented as some of the guys the Wolves previously took in the top 6. Right now, it just seems like guaranteed minutes should be tightened; at least 28 for Towns and Wiggins (unless there’s a blowout). The rest of their youngsters have to contribute positively to winning, and if they don’t, they need to sit and watch one of the vets, then try again next game while continuing to work on the physical and mental sides away from games. I still think Miller and Martin need to be sprinkled in more consistently, Bjelica needs to play unless the opponent has 2 good big paint scorers on their bench, and Pek needs to play 12-16 minutes every game if he gets healthy enough. Even a guy like Rudez should be inactive less frequently; it shouldn’t be automatic that Payne dresses and he doesn’t.

    • sportsbygreg says:

      Yeah Tyus seems to be thinking to muchinstead of just playing his game out there right now but I think that will change. He’s just now getting rolling. And even with his lack of experience he fills more stat columns in 10 minutes of action than most of those wing players do in 35 min. His defense definitely leaves something to be desired right now, but will get better as his body matures and gets stronger. But he’s just as bad as the rest of them that getting minutes. I think he’s a keeper. Trading Wiggins is definitely off the table. All those others can bounce. Except for Lavine and Towns, as you stated. DEING a dumb mistake and turnover waiting to happen, and he’s been playing three years. Curious to see how they rebound tonight.

      • gjk says:

        Nah. All of the numbers indicate his productivity per possession. People don’t like the way he plays and then he does one thing that confirms why they don’t; that’s all that is. Cherry-picking his turnovers and ignoring everything else underestimates his contributions. He has to bail out the bad decisions of every other perimeter player and still draws the fourth-most fouls on the team while having the best true shooting percentage of any regular.

        As for Tyus, he had one game with more than 2 assists, his career high is 6 points, and the team is -38 when he’s on the floor. Maybe he’ll eventually be fine, but just let him earn it like everyone else has to. This team would be more successful if Miller played most of his minutes. Why put him on the floor consistently over Miller when he can’t beat him out?

        • sportsbygreg says:

          Gjk, I’m honestly at the point where I don’t know where to point the fingers at this team, other than they suck. Sam needs to go immediately, just got drove by Sixers just as I thought would happen. Wow! Wasn’t able to watch the game, but all I can say is “WOW”.

  6. Tom says:

    I agree with everything Mitch said. AAU ball or one and done college ball (even at Duke or UK) does not benefit the league or its players. It breeds selfishness, bad habits and poor fundamentals. However, I think the experiment of having six deep with players that can’t execute a back screen, maintain spacing on fast breaks or deny driving lanes defensively needs to come to an end. We have too many loses to teams that aren’t good due to Flip’s youth movement. That is what the Clippers had for years. It is not what Boston has. They have a lot of youth surrounded by enough veterans to be successful. The three guys you need to keep are Wiggins, KAT and LaVine. They need more guys that play fundamentally sound playing with them. What we need to do is to find happy new homes for Adrian Payne, Tyus Jones, ShaBazz, Dieng, Belly and Kmart. Packaging them for guys that can support our young three and Rubio is the best way for them to grow and become the stars we hope them to be. We may see some of those cast-offs become something special, but it is clear that KAT, Wiggins and LaVine are our future and the rest need to be traded before they become stale and only worth a second round pick for Glen to sell for cash.

  7. I get it. NBA players today — the young ones — are a different breed. I feel you, Sam. OTOH, I can’t help but notice other NBA coaches seem to get them to respond to what they’re teaching.

    This is what the Timberwolves wanted. Young players and nothing but young players. So they went out and drafted a bunch, told us to just wait a few years and now they’re shocked — shocked — to find that today’s young NBA millionaires don’t play defense.

    Yeah, we’re all shocked.

  8. Mebert says:

    Can someone send this on to the Timberwolves

  9. finchy74 says:

    Was going to post something regarding Sam’s speech (for lack of a better term), but after reading the comments here, I’m a bit stunned. Guys, what exactly were your expectations for this team? They’re on a bad run right now, but they’re 4 wins away from equaling last year’s admittedly meager win total.

    This is a roster full of kids with a small handful of veterans, two of which are creeping up on 40. Were you actually expecting a .500 team when the mandate from management is to develop young players at the expense of maximizing the win total? Then shame on you for foolishness, ignorance or a combination of the two.

    Sam is certainly vulnerable to criticism on consistency and rotations, but after reading the comments I feel like I need to remind everyone (as absurd as this is) that SAM WASN’T SUPPOSED TO BE THE COACH THIS YEAR. HE WAS AN ASSISTANT AND NOT A HEAD COACH FOR A REASON. A terrible, terrible reason. So no sh** that he’s not the exact right guy for this job. People die unexpectedly sometimes and bad stuff tends to happen after that.

    I come here for the excellent articles and typically excellent commentary but the latter is distinctly absent from this thread. While I understand the frustration that many long time fans may feel about another loosing season, that’s zero excuse to go full retard. It’s a roster full of kids and a few old men, the head coach wasn’t supposed to be the head coach and the focus is on developing these kids for the future, not wins now. There’s your summary.

    That means a lot of bad nights over the course of 82 games. Try to enjoy the growth and the good moments, of which there have been many this season.

  10. pyrrol says:

    Relax, it’s unbecoming to ruffle your feathers this much in defense of terrible coaching.

    The team is not developing, they are regressing terribly, actually. That’s the issue, not simply win totals, but they are connected. You don’t learn and develop much from tanking.

    I’m sick of Sam apologists. He’s got talent on the roster (by the way, no one stated unrealistic expectations on this thread about this team given their youth and an incomplete roster). He’s experienced as an NBA head coach. No one expected him to be coach of the year or this team to tear it up, but we’re turning into a train wreck. Tension is rising on the team. And Sam is rude to the media and takes zero responsibility for anything. Part of what drives reactions like you see in this thread is also the strategy element. It is obvious to fans who follow the team closely that we are playing under a losing strategy (bad, simple stilted offense, lack of threes, long twos, regression on defense, giving up high 3-point percentages). Even with low expectations, Sam is a big disappointment, and close to an all out disaster.

    I don’t see a lot of good moments to enjoy lately, and there should be some. I also am not seeing growth. You can blame the players, but the reality is a lot of them have added to their games in ways that prove they can learn and develop, but currently, they aren’t developing in the particular ways they need to most, and we are regressing as a team, in a tailspin really. This seems to be because the system and coaching isn’t putting them in a position to improve. Fans are unhappy for a reason, and that reason isn’t that they are whiners.

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