Thursday, July 14, 2011

Best fit for Minnesota Timberwolves head coaching vacancy

The Minnesota Timberwolves highly publicized, wishy-washy feeling about whether or not to retain head coach Kurt Rambis after two disappointing years came to an end earlier this week. After posting a record of 32-132 during his tenure as the head man for a very young, inexperienced, and immature T-Wolves team, Rambis will not return to the sidelines of the Target Center.

Rambis had great success as an assistant coach under Phil Jackson with the Lakers. The tutelage he received from arguably the greatest coach in professional sports history, and his key role helping the 1980's Lakers teams to four of its' five championships earned him great respect amongst NBA owners and GM's.

Originally, Rambis had said he was going to implement many of the triangle offense teachings he learned while in Los Angeles, but the more I watched the Timberwolves over the past two seasons, the more I saw that Rambis was a very confused coach. The Triangle offense did not match the team that had been constructed around him. This Minnesota team was much too young, and undisciplined to run an offense that requires so much focus, discipline and trust. A lot of times, you could see the players on the court blatantly go away from the Triangle, and do whatever they pleased, which showed in their record.

Rather than adjusting the offense to suit the personnel on his squad, it seemed that Rambis just kind of went through the motions and let his team dictate what went on throughout the game. It is because of those reasons that Rambis is now out of a job after just two years in the Land of 1,000 Lakes.

Here's what Timberwolves GM David Kahn had to say about the situation:

The T-Wolves are one of two teams who have a head coaching vacancy this off-season, here are three of the best options to take over for Rambis:

1. Don Nelson - 3-time NBA Coach of the Year, Most wins as a coach
Years Coached: 31in NBA history
Teams Coached: Bucks, Warriors, Knicks, Mavericks
Regular Season Record: 1335-1063 .557%
Playoff Record: 75-91 .452%
Championships: 0

Nelson is one of the most highly regarded coaches in the history of the NBA. His great resume and knack for being a "players coach" would fit perfectly in Minnesota. The Timberwolves young, dynamic and athletic roster would greatly benefit from the free-flow, uptempo offense that Nelson would implement. Another attribute that Nelson brings is, he won't give minutes to players, "just because", as Rambis did with Darko Milicic. I think the young guys would show respect for Nelson, and the system he would allow them to run. Would it result in more victories? I think it probably would. Would it turn them into a playoff team? No.

2. Rick Adelman - Two time Western Conference Champion
Teams Coached: Trailblazers, Warriors, Kings, Rockets
Years Coached: 20
Regular Season Record: 945-616 .605%
Playoff Record: 79-78 .503%
Championships: 0

Like Nelson, Adelman has a very respected coaching pedigree. He led Portland to two NBA Finals appearances in 1990, and 1992, losing to the Pistons and Bulls, respectively. Some of his finer coaching moments came with the Sacramento Kings in the early 2000's, in which he led his squad into many playoff
battles with the Lakers. Adelman's offense is not nearly as fast break oriented as Nelson's, but he does open up the floor a lot for pick and rolls, back-cuts, and pulling his bigs' to the high-post to create. With a very athletic team, Adelman's of
fense is sure to catch on quickly.

3. Lawrence Frank
Teams Coached: Nets
Years Coached: 7
Regular Season Record: 225-241 .483%
Playoff Record: 18-20 .474%
Championships: 0

Frank broke onto the scene with New Jersey in the 2003-04 season. Many people doubted Frank's ability to coach at the NBA level because he had never played the game at that level. After many successful seasons at the helm of the Nets, Frank
was fired after an 0-16 start to the 2009-10 season. Frank's latest coaching job was serving as an assistant to Doc Rivers in Boston, in which he was named the lead assistant after Tom Thibodeau took the head coaching job in Chicago. In New Jersey, Frank ran an uptempo, pick and roll offense much like you would see with the Hornets, or Warriors right now. That type of offense suits the Wolves perfectly, with a lot of athletic big guys, and Spainish PG sensation Ricky Rubio coming over, Frank could be a nice fit in Minny. There have been reports of Frank being the lead candidate for the Pistons head coaching job, as well as the Tennessee head coaching job left vacant by the firing of Bruce Pearl. If those rumors are true, it may be difficult to snatch up Frank.

*all coaching stats are from Basketball-Reference

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