I was feeling unusually positive about the Wolves following the KG deal. Things finally seemed to be looking up for them, once they’d added a group of talented young players through the trade. But a day or two went by, and a depressing thought suddenly hit me: "Oh yeah, Wittman’s still the coach. Crap."
Last year, I didn’t see a single indication that Randy Wittman can be a quality head coach in the NBA. The Wolves were an absolute disaster with Witt at the helm…the guys didn’t play hard, and I definitely got the impression that most of them couldn’t have cared less whether they won or lost. It was a mess.
Say what you want about Dwane Casey’s often-bizarre rotations. Say what you want about his handling of rookies. But at least the guys played hard for him. And at least the outcomes of the games actually seemed meaningful to the players when Case was in charge.
Unfortunately, McHale and Taylor seem committed to standing by Wittman. After all, by replacing Randy, the front-office would essentially be admitting their terrible mistake of firing Casey.
So the Wolves will begin this new era with Wittman in charge. And that scares me.
You can be the smartest basketball coach in the world. You can know everything there is to know about the game. But those smarts don’t matter one bit unless you can command the respect of your players. Hopefully, Wittman learned that lesson last season.
I guess we can always hope for the best. We can hope Wittman will be able to establish some sense of authority over this remodeled team. But I’ll only be hopeful about that if the Wolves eliminate two distractions.
First, they need to trade Juwan Howard. The guy just doesn’t want to be here, and I can’t blame him one bit for that. Second, they must find SOME way…ANY way…to get rid of Jaric.
When Marko doesn’t get his way, he whines to the media. He’s a terrible distraction that the Wolves simply cannot afford to have in their locker room.
Do those two things, and the distractions should be held to a minimum for the Wolves this season. And at that point, I think Wittman might actually have a chance to grab control of this team, for once. I’m not saying he’ll necessarily be able to do so…but at least he’ll have a shot.