We — fans, media — always seem to focus on the offense. So the story about how Kurt Rambis didn’t work as a coach always seems to focus on the triangle offense. Which the Wolves ran in a different form than Phil Jackson’s Lakers teams, due to personnel.
But that was not the problem according to Wolves forward Anthony Tolliver.
And he has ideas for what David Kahn and the Wolves front office need to look for in a new coach, which he explained to the Star Tribune.
“I never really thought the offense was a problem, the defensive side was,” Tolliver said. “We scored enough points to win games. We struggled with the ability to get easy buckets in crunch time, but our main problem was the defensive end. Whoever they bring in next, it’s really important that they be a defensive coach.”
Asked what kind of coach the team needs to hire next, Tolliver said, “Someone who’s going to be a disciplinarian. Kurt’s a really nice guy. Sometimes that got in the way. I’m not saying he’s too nice, but sometimes it’s good to have a coach no likes to be a jerk.
“I know several players on the Bulls and nobody really liked Tom Thibodeau, but that’s O.K. You don’t have to like the coach. You just have to be able to play for him.”
For the record, the Wolves were 23rd in the league in offensive efficiency, 26th in defense. So, while technically the defense was worse really we’re jsut splitting hairs — both sides sucked. Both need to get better.
As for discipline, Rambis learned from Jackson, the master at manipulating and guiding players to doing what he wanted by getting them to beleive it was best for them. Jackson also largely had veteran teams with powerful personalities that drove the team to win. The Timberwolves have none of that.
To quote Bull Durham, “They’re kids, scare ‘em a little.” The new coach may not want to call them lollygaggers, but you get the idea.