With Mitchell Fired, Wolves Have Top Crop of Coaching to Choose From

Sam Mitchell was fired shortly after the Wolves season ending 144-109 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans. The Minnesota Timberwolves now have to make a decision on who will replace him.

Source: Foxsports

With a 144 -109 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans, the Minnesota Timberwolves ended the season on a high note.  The undisputed Rookie of the Year Karl-Anthony Towns had 28 points and 14 rebounds, Andrew Wiggins ended the season with 21 points, and Zach LaVine had 19 points and five assists. Also, finishing the year strong after having a disappointing season, while doing a bit of everything—Nemenja Bjelica had 10 points, three steals, three rebounds, three assists, and one block. Also coming off the bench, Shabazz Muhammad finished with 28 points.

Although the Wolves played very well, and have gained something to build onto into next season, rumors of interim coach Sam Mitchell’s dismissal was the center of attention before and after the game ended. Marc Stein tweeted this hours before the game to fuel the speculation.


Source: Twitter

It probably wasn’t an easy decision for Glen Taylor, owner of the Timberwolves. He has been known throughout his time as the owner to be extremely loyal to past personnel of the Timberwolves family. The most recent example involves the late Flip Saunders, whom he hired as head coach in 1995, fired him in 2005, and then brought him back in to be President of Basketball Operations/Head Coach in 2013.

Which makes the Mitchell dismissal all the more surprising. There were rumblings during the season, if Mitchell was able to get improvement from his players and improvement in the team record, there was a good chance he could be hired on to continue to be the head coach of the Timberwolves. 

Sam Mitchell does deserve some props for the 2nd half turn around post All-Star Break. He finally started LaVine, played Tyus Jones more, and even started letting the team run a little bit.

However, it was too little too late for those changes to occur. There were too many missed opportunities in the first half of the season which overall greatly affected the final record of the Wolves. His rotations were questionable, he played Tayshaun Prince way too many minutes, leaving his best players on the bench in crucial situations, drawing up final plays that left little to the imagination, and not changing his game plans when blowing huge 4th quarter leads. The list goes on and on, and ultimately that’s why he’s not getting his shot to be the official coach of the team.

It would have been a huge mistake and detrimental to the development of this young team for Taylor to hire Mitchell, and to ignore the amazing coaching talent readily available.  With the likes of Tom Thibodeau, Jeff Van Gundy, Scott Brooks, and David Blatt already available; the Timberwolves could not really go wrong with any of them.

According to reports, the Timberwolves are currently interested in Thibodeau, Van Gundy, Brooks, and current Memphis Grizzlies coach, Dave Joerger. The Grizzlies are currently in the 2016 NBA Playoffs, and Joerger still has two years left on his contract—but with the Grizzlies front office being known notoriously around the league as highly dysfunctional, Joerger could be canned shortly after a playoff exit.

The Wolves have begun their search today, even hiring a third party firm to help determine whom the best candidate available is.  With the Timberwolves head coaching vacancy considered one of the top jobs available in the NBA, the Wolves can take their time in choosing a new captain to steer the ship.

 The Wolves are sailing uncharted waters when it comes to having first choice at the best coaches available. It’s a weird feeling to have knowing that people actually want to come to Minnesota now. So get used to it Wolves fans, with Towns, Wiggins, LaVine, and a great coach—players will start wanting to flock to Minnesota as well. Something special is brewing, and the end result should be spectacular. 

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