Posted by Matt Moore
The blame for what's gone on in Minnesota is probably an equal four-way split between management, coaching, execution, and luck. General Manager David Kahn put together a series of terrible draft and free agency decisions, then for some reason hired a coach to instill a system that was horribly suited to the bad selection of players he assembled. Drafted multiple point guards? Let's put them in the triangle which is difficult, complex, and limits point guards' ability to function. Kurt Rambis too often shows random decisions in terms of who gets time and how much (Kevin Love had difficulty getting on the floor this year, for crying out loud), and hasn't been able to get any consistency out of the young guys. The players too often break plays and don't play with any sense of awareness, and there was nothing anyone could do to convince Ricky Rubio to come over or to alter what spot the Wolves wound up with in the draft.
But because Rambis is the coach and coaches most often bear the brunt of failure in the NBA, he's on the hot seat and there's a lot of talk about him not returning. But the players, to their credit, are not walking away from defending their coach in the face of scrutiny.
"It's easy to say when you're having a tough year," Wolves forward Kevin Love said about the uncertainty of Rambis' future with the team. "It's not a direct reflection on him. It's all on us being a young, youthful team. It's unfair. As a player, I have Kurt's back."via Timberwolves players rally around embattled coach Kurt Rambis - TwinCities.com.
"I know it's been tough on Kurt," said Wolves forward Anthony Tolliver, who claimed after Sunday's loss that "a lot of guys on this team don't bring it every night."
"He gets blamed for everything because he's the coach," Tolliver said. "He's doing what he's supposed to do. It's up to us out there on the floor to execute the game plan. As players, we have to take more accountability and responsibility for our actions."
Love's defense of Rambis (the best defense he's shown all year- wocka-wocka-wocka, I'll see myself out) is interesting given the clashes that Love has had with both Rambis and Kahn in their first two seasons due to limitations put on his playing time. Love was heavily said to be on the block for nearly an entire season, before this year's All-Star campaign made that an impossibility. Now Love is the biggest star on the team. It speaks to Love's professionalism and attitude that he didn't simply pile on, or even duck the question. He came out in support of his coach, the way we often want players to.
For Rambis, he may end up being the fall guy, despite it not really being his fault. In reality, Rambis should not have been brought in until the team was further along with its development. There are coaches you want to develop young teams into good teams, and coaches you want to take good teams into great teams. Rambis fits more of the mold of the latter, even if he hasn't shown that yet due to opportunity. If he's anything, he's a veteran's coach, not the guy you want bringing the pups up. The result is the current situation. As an organization, you have to put your personnel in a position to be successful. The Wolves have not done so with their players, their system, or their coaches.