Posted on: July 22, 2011 2:11 pm
Edited on: July 23, 2011 12:38 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Two more names to picture running the wildly interesting Timberwolves roster: Rick Adelman and Portland assistant Bernie Bickerstaff. Both had been rumored to be candidates, but according to the Star Tribune, the two will get interviews this weekend.
Previously, the Wolves had interviewed Mike Woodson and Terry Porter. Don Nelson, who is easily the most interesting candidate, has only spoken with David Kahn about the position. It's unknown if he'll have a formal interview.
What's intriguing about Adelman is that only a few months ago after he departed from the Rockets, he said he would likely be done coaching and look to the front office. He's older and has certainly been around, but even then it seemed odd that Adelman might really be done. He's been coaching for a long time and is still one of the best offensive minds in the game.
Which is what makes him an interesting fit for the Wolves. I get the feeling that this is Adelman's job if he wants it. He understands up tempo, understands young players and can install an offensive system that works. He's a proven winner and likely will connect well with the Wolves young roster.
However, he could be anxious about working with Kahn who tarnished his already well-tarnished reputation with his handling of Kurt Rambis. Hence, Bickerstaff might be a more natural fit since he's an assistant looking for a head position and also that his son, J.B., already worked with the Wolves. (J.B. recently took an assistant position with the Rockets but could come back to Minnesota if his dad got the job.)
It's still very up in the air and if we learned anything from how Kahn handled Rambis, we probably won't have a firm answer until somewhere around 2014. But the candidates are piling up and interviews are happening. Who it'll be though, is still a pretty interesting though.
Posted on: July 19, 2011 8:51 am
Edited on: July 19, 2011 9:31 am
By Matt Moore
David Kahn told reporters at the press conference after Kurt Rambis was fired that he was looking for a coach with "uptempo DNA." That's all the rage in Minnesota. Kahn is aware he can't force the team or its fans to endure another rebuilding stretch to demolish the current rebuilding scheme and survive with his job intact, so he's doing what you do when you have a fast team you can't do anything with: Try and go faster.
But based off the first couple of candidates Kahn has interviewed outside of Don Nelson (which is all sorts of crazy), the phrase "I do not think that word means what you think it means" comes to mind.
We brought you word Monday that the Wolves were interviewing former Blazer player and former Suns coach Terry Porter. Porter's teams have always erred on the fast side, but much of that is likely due to the makeup of the personnel he was walking into. He hasn't "built" a fast team, he's just coached them. And not very well, at that. He tried to slow down the Suns, which, if you're going to slow them down, you have to go all the way and reshape the entire tempo of the team, not go halfway (and ditch Steve Nash, but that's another conversation). Porter does have experience as an assistant in Minnesota, but that still seems like an odd fit.
Then there's news Tuesday of the Wolves interviewing Mike Woodson. As for Woodson's fast-break pedigree? Well, let's let SBNation.com point the way:
In announcing the firing of Rambis, Kahn said he'd be looking for a coach more committed to the fast break. Like Porter, Woodson is puzzling in that context. The Hawks finished No. 27 in the NBA in pace factor in Woodson's final season in Atlanta, and over his tenure averaged a finish of No. 20.via Mike Woodson To Interview For Timberwolves' Head Coach Job - SBNation.com.
Woodson's a good overall coach, and the work he did with the Hawks was underrated (just look at the job Larry Drew did in his first year for reference, despite the team's record and second-round appearance). But he's a poor fit for the Timberwolves, especially within the context of bringing that "uptempo DNA." He has more of a "slow it down and most likely have the ball wind up in an ISO situation DNA" kind of guy (though the ball movement on the Hawks in his term was better than it was with Drew this season).
It seems like we're piling on here just to pile on Kahn, and maybe that's the case. After all it doesn't make sense to criticize the Wolves for wanting a fast team, then criticize them for bringing in slower coaches. It just doesn't speak well to have a flawed plan to begin with, or rather to say you have a plan that's obviously flawed, and then to take steps which act in total denial of that plan.
But then, them's the breaks, and at this point, the only happy ending for this Wolves team (with Kahn) is for things to just randomly work out, which has happened from time to time. But let it be noted that from this vantage point at this moment in time, the sausage factory looks awfully weird.
Posted on: July 18, 2011 3:36 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 3:55 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Let's be realistic: Don Nelson probably isn't going to be taking the Timberwolves job. Yes, I realize that David Kahn doesn't operate under the law of what's "realistic," but still, pulling the 71-year-old out of retirement (and off a beach in Hawaii) won't be easy. Besides, even though the Wolves would immediately become a cult favorite, it's probably not a great fit.
Which means the Wolves aren't just starting and stopping with Nelson. Other names have popped up -- like Bernie Bickerstaff, Rick Adelman and even Washington Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar. One more name to add to the list: Former Suns head coach Terry Porter. Via the Star Tribune:
Notice that Porter is actually the first official interview for the Wolves. Nelson spoke with Kahn, but that was just informal talk, likely for feeling out to gauge mutual interest.
With Porter, he was Mike D'Antoni's replacement in Phoenix and attempted to change the culture of the team, slowing down the pace and focusing on defense. It didn't work, and he was fired halfway through the season and replaced by Alvin Gentry, who restored the run and gun to the Suns. Porter also coached two seasons in Milwaukee but didn't experience a ton of success there, either.
Kahn has made it very clear he's looking for a coach who wants to run, and Porter obviously isn't opposed to that. While he slowed the Suns down some, it's not like he turned them into the walk-it-up Blazers or anything. They still played fast, just not as fast. With a roster like the Wolves, Porter might be a solid fit mentoring young Ricky Rubio.
There's a lot of buzz around Nelson, but Porter is the only official interview as of now. Doesn't mean he's the top candidate or the favorite, but it does mean that he's at least in the running.
Posted on: December 5, 2010 4:56 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:16 pm
Portland Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan admits his team is "not responding" to him during its current six-game losing streak. Posted by Ben Golliver. The Portland Trail Blazers enter Sunday night's game against the Los Angeles Clippers riding a six-game losing streak, their longest such streak since 2005-2006, when the team won just 21 games. Following the sixth straight defeat, a road loss to the Washington Wizards on Friday night, Blazers coach Nate McMillan admitted to The Oregonian that he is having trouble reaching his team.
"Evidently, they're not responding to me, because all these games look similar," McMillan said. "So I asked them: 'Is it clear what we're asking you to do?'"
His words were met with blank states and silence. "They didn't say anything," McMillan said. "The thing is, they didn't have to say anything. I think the games show that. We're not getting it done."Dwight Jaynes, a Portland-based television and radio host, blogged that the comments, plus the team's lack of effort, signal that McMillan's time in Portland may be running out.
And while I watched the Trail Blazers’ pathetic effort Friday night in Washington against the Wizards, it crossed my mind what I’ve written here previously — are the Blazer players trying to get their coach fired? It sure looks like it.
Sometimes, players just tire of hearing the same messages from their coach. At some unconscious (usually) level, they work toward an outcome that they’d like to see — the departure of their coach. It certainly looks as if the Blazers, on some level, have chosen this course.There's no question the Blazers are playing lackluster, defeated basketball, losing game after game with second-half collapses, playing without inspiration and purpose. Any time that happens, the coach finds himself on the hot seat. It's worth noting that Portland's losing streak coincides almost exactly with the team's announcement that center Greg Oden would miss the entire 2010-2011 season with microfracture surgery. The Blazers are 1-6 since the Nov. 17 press conference announcing the decision to undergo surgery. Prior to the news, the team was 7-5. If there was a concerning element to training camp this year, in hindsight, it was an overall attitude that can best be summarized as, "We just need to hang on until Oden gets back." Rather than truly confronting life without Oden, players, coaches, management, media and fans alike used his absence and expected return as a mental crutch. That was reflected in indifferent play during the preseason, a failure to consider the ramifications of playing LaMarcus Aldridge and Marcus Camby heavy, heavy minutes, the salary dump of rotation spark plug Jerryd Bayless and the team's decision to make due with fourth-rate backup centers after second-year big man Jeff Pendergraph went down with injury. Whereas last year's Blazers rallied together in Oden's absence, greeting Camby's arrival via trade with huge enthusiasm that propelled the team into the playoffs down the stretch, this year's team has received the news of his absence with hopelessness and a wary eye towards the rest of a lengthy schedule. All star guard Brandon Roy's balky knee and inefficient play only reinforces that glass-is-half-empty mentality, because the guy who could always be counted on to bail the team out simply cannot produce as he was once capable. Which brings us back to the question of McMillan and his future. One factor lost in this discussion so far has been McMillan's long-term motivation to stay in Portland. His greatest skills as a coach, so far, have been motivating his players and designing an offensive system that takes advantage of his star player's abilities. With an older, already-paid roster and a not-what-he-used-to-be Roy, McMillan's skills are much less useful and effective in Portland than they used to be. Surely, he knows that better than anyone, and you have to wonder whether that will impact his desire to stay in Portland should he survive the season without being fired. He's coveted around the league for his ties to Team USA and his ability to relate to star players and bench guys alike. There might not be jobs that pay him more than Blazers owner Paul Allen does, but there will almost assuredly be better fits for his talents. The problem for Portland is that there is no readily available, quality alternative to McMillan in the short term. McMillan's best assistant coach last season, Monty Williams, left to serve as the head coach of the New Orleans Hornets. His most promising assistant this year, Kaleb Canales, is still too young to take the reins as a head coach. The thought of bland NBA lifers like Bernie Bickerstaff and Bob Ociepka taking over on an interim basis is so depressing that we'll just pretend it's not even being considered. And there is no obvious candidate on the basketball operations staff to step in down the stretch like former general manager Kevin Pritchard did. Somewhat sadly, the most qualified replacement candidate currently affiliated with the organization is Terry Porter, who is currently serving as the team's sideline reporter (yes, seriously). History has proven that, apples to apples, McMillan, despite his flaws as an in-game tactician, mediocre defensive results and griding pace, is a superior coach to Porter. The worst thing the Blazers could do in this situation is make an emotional decision regarding their coaching spot in response to the losing. Reality is setting in and expectations are being lowered by the fanbase, which is completely aware of what is happening. A coaching change without a roster change is not likely to inspire any hope for the fans, except for a contingent that has wanted McMillan gone all along because his style is boring. It might provide a momentary bump for the players, but they'll still be looking around the locker room at the same group of teammates that have no answers themselves. In other words, a new voice could help, but it's not going to save this Oden-less season, not even close. Whether McMillan stays or goes, then, simply isn't that important of a question right now, given all of the surrounding circumstances. Therefore, he should be allowed to stick around, as long as he is able to keep the Blazers from embarrassing themselves. Once the season is completed, though, all bets are off, for both sides.
Posted on: September 23, 2010 5:51 pm
Edited on: September 23, 2010 6:22 pm
Suns extend head coach after return to playoffs despite roster turnover.
Posted by Matt Moore
The fast break will continue in Phoenix. The Suns today announced an extension for head coach Alvin Gentry. The Suns under Gentry improved considerably, returning to their running and gunning ways on the path to the Western Conference Finals. Despite the departure of Amar'e Stoudemire in free agency and the looming issue of Steve Nash's age, the Suns felt that Gentry's the guy, and extended him through 2012-2013.
The Suns are 72-41 under Gentry, which ain't too bad at all, especially given the dismal performance they suffered under head coach Terry Porter in their attempt to become more traditional in their approach. With the economy still sluggishly working its way out of the doldrums, extending Gentry is a wise move from owner Robert Sarver. Committing to Gentry may mean more money on salary, but it also means stability and a tried and true formula that may suffer from problems (eventually) in the playoffs, but does win lots and lots of games. Gentry also managed to make the most convincing case for a running team to be able to buckle down and play hard-nosed defense.
The deal may have been done sooner had the replacement GM and President of Basketball Ops jobs not taken so long to fill, before eventually Lon Babby and Lance Blanks were brought on board.