Back To The Future: Flip, circa 1998, coaching the Wolves

Back To The Future: Flip, circa 1998, coaching the Wolves

Flip Saunders is generally regarded as a good basketball man. That does not mean his decision to coach the Wolves again has been universally lauded. Far from it.

The general reaction seems to be, "Wait, what?" And we'd say this FAQ from Grantland captures the spirit of the thing. Here's a taste:

OK, so … If Flip Saunders isn’t actually a horrible coach, then why is this so depressing for Minnesota fans? Were they going to do much better?

Flip Saunders was depressing when they hired him as GM, let alone when Glen Taylor allowed him to come down and coach. Just on principle. There’s an entire class of NBA teams (including my Wizards) that are perfectly content to plow away into the NBA’s middle and (I guess?) hope for a miracle that turns them into contenders. Coaches (and GMs) like Flip are a big part of that. It’s not that they are horrible, but they’re just not talented or imaginative enough to ever change the direction of a franchise for the better.

“Good is the enemy of great” is the perfect way to describe everything Flip Saunders represents in the NBA. Or Randy Wittman. Or a handful of other coaches who have bounced around the league.

It’s extra depressing for Minnesota fans because this is how the Wolves operated for the better part of the last 15 years. Then for the past few years, this team was trying to be better than all of that. They spent money on an offer sheet for Nic Batum and paid Nikola Pekovic, they finally brought Rubio over, they hired Rick Adelman to turn them into an offensive powerhouse … none of it quite worked, but at least they were trying. Now, with Adelman gone and contender dreams foiled, the Wolves are looking at a scenario in which they lose the best player they’ve had since KG and go back to all the same underwhelming leadership they suffered through when they actually had KG. That sentence is why this is extra depressing for Wolves fans.

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