Tom Thibodeau Rumors
How are players responding to change in coaching style from Sam to Thibs? Is there any apparent tension? John Grooms, @jgg512 A I’m not sure it’s all that different in style. Sam Mitchell rode them hard for three or four months, then loosened the reins and they responded, starting in February. I don’t see tension per se, but they certainly don’t seem to be playing free and with any real joy.
“With Thibs, you definitely butt heads. But you don’t realize what you have with him until he’s not around. He told me that when I played for him. We used to butt heads all the time.” Thibodeau guided Noah and Derrick Rose to five straight playoff berths, even during the seasons when Rose was hurt. “It was definitely a relationship,’’ Noah said. “Thibs is great. I’m really happy for him. He cares about winning. Our run in Chicago, I’ll never forget. Some of the best times in my life. I got a lot of love for Thibs.’’
After another loss caused by another fourth-quarter break down on defense, the Wolves were clearly frustrated, starting with coach Tom Thibodeau. “When you’re out-rebounded, you’re fouling recklessly, not protecting the basket, your weak side has no awareness of what’s going on, it’s not acceptable,’’ Thibodeau said. That frustration was felt in the locker room two. By Ricky Rubio, who sat and watched in the fourth quarter again, with Tyus Jones playing all 12 minutes. By Karl-Anthony Towns, who again tried to take all the blame for the team’s woes. By Andrew Wiggins, who said the team keeps making the same defensive mistakes. “The message is getting through,’’ he said. “But it’s different from saying something to actually doing it.’’
Jeff Van Gundy: But I was thinking today: If there was no salary cap, what players wouldn’t you trade Karl-Anthony Towns for? Steph Curry? That’s a no. Is Kevin Durant a no? Is Anthony Davis a no, because of his durability? How many can you come up with? I mean, they have a future. There are a lot of young teams that all they are is young. That doesn’t mean they have a chance to be good. Minnesota has a chance to be really good, but there are moves that need to be made to shore up [their weaknesses].
Part of it also may be a new coach, Tom Thibodeau, and a system in which Rubio must both adapt and lead. “It’s another adjustment, but it’s not the first time I change coaches,” Rubio said. “I work with different coaches. Every coach has his own unique way to run the team, and I try to translate that on the court. It’s hard, but it’s like everything in the NBA. I’m thinking about having a feeling with the coach, with the new plays, knowing what he wants from each player. I’m trying to translate that to each player on the court.”