Kurt Rambis: An endorsement amidst the carnage

Categories: Sports
Rambis coach.jpg
At 32-121 (.209), Rambis owns the second-worst coaching win clip in team history.

On April 13, the final day of the Timberwolves' season, Kurt Rambis will have coached his 164th game at the Minnesota helm. That mark will tie him with with Bill Musselman for the second-most head coaching games in team history.

It shows.

Rambis ambled to the post-game mic Sunday after his team suffered what was a new low in a season replete with valleys.  The Wolves had just been stomped by Sacramento, one of two NBA teams over which they had claimed more seasonal victories. Adding to the woe, All-Star Kevin Love had left the game in the first half after suffering a groin injury. Love would not return, and as the game grew more gruesome the arena held an undercurrent of distraction. On home televisions before inviting sofas across America--actual, exciting hoop was being played as March Madness whittled down to the Sweet 16.

Kurt Rambis was a part of eight Laker title teams, serving L.A. in various capacities as a player, coach, and suit. Prior to his NBA years, the guy was a psychology major in college. That winning acumen, the degree, and his time with the cerebral Phil Jackson all read like a weary vestige over Rambis's face as he loomed over the podium on Sunday. Rambis is an intelligent guy and there's no doubt that a host of inter-workings, lament, frustration, and exhaustion lie beneath the composed exterior of a man they used to call "Rambo" back in his rabid playing days.

In recent weeks, a host of reports have embraced the sketchy lexicon of our times, citing "unnamed sources" saying Rambis will be canned after the season, fired two years into the 4-year/$8 million contract he signed in 2009. Over the weekend past, the New York Post's Peter Vecsey (whom I haven't seen at Target Center this season; please correct me if I'm wrong) offered an "assurance" that Rambis and his staff will be done "as soon as the season is over."

The Timberwolves have had nine head coaches in their oft-depressing, 22-year history.  Among the nine, only Flip Saunders has a winning tenure or a winning record in any full season and is the lone man to take the team to the playoffs. Of the nine, only Saunders and original Wolf Sid Lowe have received another opportunity to lead an NBA team (two in Saunders's case); Lowe had to wait six years before getting his next shot.

With an overall mark of 32-121 (.209), Rambis has the second-lowest coaching win clip in team history. Last year, his Wolves allowed the league's second-most points per game (107.8) and are suffering the most per outing (107.1) as this season comes to a close. In 2010, the Wolves committed the league's most turnovers per game (16.3) and are tracking to again lead the NBA in said sad category this year, turning the rock over at a crazy rate of 17.2 per contest.

There's no question that the Wolves have stunk under Rambis; when the season held more gravity he struggled to author strong plays under pressure and, all told, the numbers above leave no doubt that his teams make ample mistakes and play little defense.

But in a Timberwolves culture of constant re-birthing (aside from 1999-2004), allow me to lobby for some consistency with the bunch, and endorse this father for one more year.

The Wolves' future mirrors that of the NBA at present: Both are in a state of sensitive flux. A league lockout looms--and while a potential NBA work stoppage has received less pub than the NFL's current state of litigation, I'm of the opinion that the hoop situation is just as severe.

A foreman is only as strong as his tools and his crew, and we can count on one hand how

Rubio.jpg
Image via Wiki
many living coaches could achieve a 30-plus win season with this current Wolves roster. Rambis has overseen the league's youngest team this season and has seen massive roster turnover in his two years at the helm. Aside from Kevin Love, he has been provided with nary a consistent, marquee talent, and his floor generals have been ranked "Flynn" and "Ridnour."

The Timberwolves do own some true talent, although much of it remains raw; really the wealth of these dudes would serve as no more than complementary pieces for a solid team that could offer them 15 minutes a game. 

But there are indeed assets here with a small cache of future first-round draft picks and, of course, there's Ricky Rubio.

I don't believe Rubio will ever don a Wolves jersey. Rather, I see him as an exceptional trading chip at this stage, one that will hopefully bring Target Center some desperately needed veteran presences to complement Love and help this youthful cast mature toward a more composed, 40-win bunch.

We've seen what inconsistency brings to Target Center.  To try something different would be to give Rambis another shot, and to at least allow him a chance to lose with a roster actually capable of some wins.

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10 comments
duke
duke

musselman did a lot more with less...this is the worst 4th quarter team in history and that says a lot about the quality of coaching..good bye and good riddence...

Katz Andrew
Katz Andrew

Seriously, what is the plan here? Who are we going to get to help out Love? Are these other young guys going to develop quickly in our system? Are we done shedding old contracts and will we let a four year plan show some progress? Whatever our GM decides to do with Rubbio will tell us a lot about his skills. If Ricky does come, it shows all the resources that we've spent on him already have been well invested. If the guy says he wants to be in a different market, who do we sell him to, and for what? Only time will answer these questions, but this fan base is in need of something good in order to hope we'll be a lot better quickly. We're a bad joke.

efe.
efe.

Utterly disgusting...is all i can say for your continued support of this Coach, not his staff...but this coach has lost myriad games in final quarters, minutes, and seconds...take your pick. Reggie Theus and Bill Lambier have probably curtailed some of the losing that would've occurred. I dont see why he should be named Head coach over bill...I think this staff would be perfect if the Added a point guard coach say...ummm "Mark Jackson"...promote Bill to head coach and lets rock and Roll. Kants is a horrible GM that trades away players that like to be here, and are good kids and good for the community...Its funny how when a player possess those attribute, its not a point in consideration when making a trade, but when they can be a cancer to the community but exceptional skills, then it matters.

If the Wolves want to take step forwards, stop trying to change the pieces every year. You have an NBDL in which to pluck some players from time to time...trading player really affects the comradeship and few intrinsic tangibles that cannot be measured. To write this endorsement baffels my mind. Just look to the west in Colorado...they get rid of their two best players and dont even skip a beat...George Karl plucks a player from their NBDL league to play a starting position so that it did not contaminate the cohesiveness of his bench..."Thats a smart organization and coach"...Lambier and R. Theus (i could be incorrect) but have earned accolades while their tenure in the NBA...tell what Rambis's highest accolade was, besides riding Phil Jackson's coat tails...His results i dont think will be much different if he went and coached elsewhere.

My fine writing friend, i commend you for your kindness to a coach that's feeling down, and hopefully on his way out....Don't forget how he used to Bench Kevin Love...I wonder if that streak would've been longer....So? Answer me this...Why this endorsement for a lame coach. I thought you wanted to see this team improve...You writing this article seems to stifle that notion...regardless, the article is still a success if it evokes the emotion of the reader.

good Job old friend;-D

myles
myles

Rambis, shmambis...matters not with this team

Mark Gisleson
Mark Gisleson

I want to see Rubio here, and I can't imagine why he wouldn't want to be the playmaker for a team with some serious shooters on it.

Next year defense needs to be the focus. The Wolves' offense is doing just fine.

Chuck Norris
Chuck Norris

A tradesman is only as good as his tools. There was some chatter on The Fan yesterday about Rubio perhaps coming over next season. Perhaps it was just idle chatter. Great article. This franchise definitely needs CPR...

Judd
Judd

And hot damn did Musselman work the hell out of those vets.

Judd
Judd

Like the Wolves: you have more questions than answers. Which is totally apt and excactly where fans should be. I agree about Kahn: his signature move, to date, was the double point guard draft of '09. Flynn hasn't worked out and, of course, Rubio isn't here and may never be. Despite Rubio's measured play (and falling stock) overseas, wht Kahn can get for him (or lack thereof) will be the dotted signature that will crown him an underrated suit, or keep him out of an NBA front office forever.

Judd
Judd

I think everybody surely wants to see Rubio here, if even (like the rest of the league) to serve the mass curiosities about him at this stage stage. Regarding the above "idle chatter," the only part of it I belive is that he wants to be on the East Coast -- which says, to me, that parting from the warm environs of Barcelona isn't the name issue. I think dude just wants to play in the spotlight of Madison Square Garden.

Judd
Judd

Anything involving Rubio right now is idle chatter; the confusion is even further clouded by the threat of a work stoppage.

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