Sunday apparently came and went with Randy Wittman still officially coach of the Timberwolves, a franchise that even an NBA rookie realized hit “rock bottom” with Saturday’s desolatory loss to the Los Angeles Clippers at Target Center.
ESPN.com, citing NBA coaching sources, reported Sunday night that Wolves owner Glen Taylor wants Kevin McHale, vice president of basketball operations, to agree to coach the team before Taylor will agree to fire Wittman, who is 38-105 in less than two full seasons as Wolves head coach.
McHale reluctantly coached the season’s final 31 games after he fired Flip Saunders during the 2004-2005 season.
McHale was the target of some unhappy fans during that game as some in the Target Center crowd shouted out the names of O.J. Mayo and Brandon Roy, two players the Wolves drafted and McHale traded away.
That could have something to do with his reluctance to go back to the bench, and ESPN.com reported that general manager Jim Stack is another option.
By all these yardsticks, Randy Wittman is having a terrible year. What is the current identity of the Minnesota Timberwolves? Are they an offensive-oriented team or a defensive-oriented team? Do they prefer an uptempo pace or more half-court? Do they pound it inside or promote ball movement for midrange and long range jumpers? What is their substitution rotation? What players do they regard as most integral to their current success and how much does it overlap with the players they are most trying to develop? Bottom line, this is a team with absolutely no identity. And that makes them very difficult for fans to embrace. Even last year’s square-one rebuilding push, when Jefferson was more dominant in the team’s personality makeup, was more coherent than this year’s.
To a man, the Wolves claim that they are still energized and positive, that their foremost goal is to “stay together” as a team. But it’s pretty clear from their exasperated on-court expressions and body language, from their timid offense and basic lack of competitiveness (not to mention the fragile shell that was once Rashad McCants) that the team is suffering from a major crisis of confidence…