Archives For Bernie Bickerstaff

Rambis, the bullets

Benjamin Polk —  July 13, 2011 — 1 Comment

Photo by Will Keightley

These days, Wolves fans have to instinctively wince a little whenever we find our crew in the national media.  But thanks to the Kurt Rambis odyssey (“fiasco” or “debacle” could also suffice), here we are. So here are some more tidbits:

Thing is, the Wolves were already the fastest team in the league last year, averaging 96.5 possessions per 48 minutes. They were also one of the very worst in the league at converting fastbreak opportunities and turning the ball over…If Kahn is in fact trying to model his roster after these rare speed demons [early decade Kings, ’08 Lakers, D’Antoni-era Suns], he’s doing a miserable job. Those teams were built with play-making veterans, unselfish offensive philosophies, deft passing from all five positions and consistent 3-point shooters. These elements of efficiency and execution were necessary to win by imposing an uptempo style of play night in and night out against top competition. Kahn’s teams have not even approached a single element of what made these offenses so great.

True enough. I would also add: the Wolves played at such a high pace largely because they so deeply loved turning the ball over. Lots of quick turnovers means lots of possessions that end before they begin, which means more possessions per game.

  • This is hilarious: rumor is that Don Nelson is interested in the Wolves’ coaching vacancy (thanks to College Wolf for the tip).  In some ways, this makes a little sense. David Kahn wants that “uptempo DNA” and holy smokes, Nellie certainly has that. What’s more, with his knack for dissolving positional distinctions in order to create matchup anarchy, he would seem somehow suited for the Wolves’ oddly sized front court mishmash. On the other hand, its hard to see how the Wolves would address their defensive problems by hiring a coach who almost literally stopped coaching defense in Golden State. (Also, does Nellie know that Anthony Randolph plays for the Wolves?).
  • The Wolves’ rumored plan to hire Bernie Bickerstaff to mentor his son J.B., would seem a bit more complicated now that J.B. has agreed to join Kevin McHale in Houston. Seriously, what are they going to do?

Rumors of Bickerstaff

Benjamin Polk —  July 12, 2011 — 5 Comments

Photo by Markus P L

From Jerry Zgoda at the Star Tribune:

Last time we checked, Kurt Rambis still is Timberwolves’ coach but that isn’t stopping Davis Kahn from continuing his pursuit of a new coach apparently. On Monday, the Oregonian newspaper in Portland reported that the Wolves late last week asked the Trail Blazers for permission to talk to Blazers assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff about the team’s still-filled head coaching job. Bickerstaff’s contract with the Blazers expired on July 1 — which is also when the current labor lockout began — but he has been negotiating with the Blazers about a new one. The idea with hiring Bickerstaff — 67 and a head coach with four different NBA teams during his long career when he also was a president and GM — would be to sign him for a year or two while his son J.B. is groomed to take over the job when he’s ready…There’s a couple other reasons this makes sense: J.B. would work cheap and he’ll take the job in an instant.And with the way this debacle has played out, that latter quality might be getting harder and harder to come by. The Wolves’ insistence at dragging this out presumably to save money just makes the franchise from around the league look  even more mismanged, if that’s possible.

I have very little to add to this.  David Kahn has shown himself to be genuinely skilled at explaining the team’s most puzzling moves (see his long conversation with Bill Simmons). But he and Glen Taylor also seem to be unable to avoid repeatedly giving the impression that their franchise is an tumultuous wreck. And, more importantly, they seem to be blithely unaware that such impressions are almost as important as the decisions themselves. Whether or not your decision to draft Jonny Flynn one spot after Ricky Rubio, say, was actually well-reasoned, it appeared amateurish and incompetent. And those appearances matter gravely.