Mar 23, 2011, 11:46 AM EDT
Any time a team racks up as few wins as the Timberwolves have the last couple years, the coach is in trouble. Any time a bad team seems to get worse — the Wolves are 4-11 since the All-Star Game — the coach is in trouble. We’re looking at you, Kurt Rambis.
Sure, we should lay a lot of the blame on the front office — this team doesn’t have a lot of talent and outside of Kevin Love what they do have is a poor fit for the triangle offense Rambis was brought in to run — but the front office will not fire itself. It can’t just fire players. So the coach is the scapegoat.
But Minnesota players rallied to Rambis’ defense in the Pioneer Press.
“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…”
“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.”
Rambis is not a demonstrative, public guy with his players. He probably got that sitting next to Phil Jackson. But some fans love the loud, rip-the-players-in-the-media coach because it’s cathartic for them. That is very different than it being good for the team.
“Kurt will get on guys,” Wolves swingman Martell Webster said. “He can be very vocal and animated. He’s just not very loud with it. He’s emotional but not outlandish.”
What we need to see is what Rambis can do with a little more talent. He may be better suited to a more veteran team. Or at least a team with players that fit his offense better.
But none of that matters when the team is losing. He will remain on the hot seat.