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Timberwolves players say blame them, not Kurt Rambis

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.

  1. dmo84 - Mar 23, 2011 at 9:09 PM

    Of course the players should be blamed. Kurt isn’t the one losing the ball by dribbling of his foot, or missing easy layups, or passing the ball crosscourt with a defender standing in the middle of the passing lane the entire time. My favorite is Ridnour penetrating(uncontested), then kicking the ball back out to a wide open DEFENDER! But I do think Rambis is partially responsible. The reason is there is no fear of screwing up by the players. I’m tired of the “we’re young” excuse. The fundamentals of the game have been the same for these players(so called professionals) since their childhood days. Poppivich wouldn’t stand for the mistakes that the “young” Wolves routinely make. After a ridiculous turnover, you’ll see Rambis sitting there with a blank stare.

  2. lidoisle - Mar 23, 2011 at 10:15 PM

    I agree with Love.

    Most of the vitriol directed at Rambis is generated by a fan blog named Canis Hoopus, directed by one Nate Arch, “Stop-n-Pop”. He’s the touchstone of all
    basketball knowledge, atheism, and socialism, and the guru and informer of all the minions that follow him. It’s an ugly site with ugly people, who have seemingly never been happy with anyone or anything. The site’s negativity can give you acid reflux after about 5 minutes read. This is Rambis’ first year with this group. Give him the time he signed on for to develop these kids. Impatience will just keep this team down. They’ve played some strong teams down to the wire
    already. Popovich thinks they’re tough. he should know. Until Beasley was
    knocked down in L.A., they were playing great against the Lakers. Does the coach only get credit for the bad games?

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