Dennis Scott’s NBA career spanned a decade, including one season with the Timberwolves in 1998-99. The Star Tribune’s Michael Rand caught up this week with the 45-year-old Scott, now an analyst for NBA TV, on Flip Saunders, Kevin Love and the NBA Finals.
Q What’s your impression about Flip Saunders, since you played for him back in the day?
A I think Flip is a player’s coach, a guy who is easy to talk to. I remember Flip always having an open-door policy, if you had questions about playing time, whatever it was, he had the perfect platform for players. And he’s an incredible innovator with his offensive mind. When Flip took over, I thought Kevin Love would have a great opportunity to thrive off some of the offensive sets Flip had, but the way [David] Kahn handled that first contract left a sour taste in [Love’s] mouth.
Q You referenced Love. It feels to me that a trade is almost inevitable now. If so, what’s the best outcome for the Wolves?
A You have to move him. You have to be like Utah when they traded Deron Williams. The owners and general managers at the end of the day still have the final say-so. You cannot hold a franchise hostage like that. Flip needs to have a man-to-man conversation with Love real soon. … Think about Kevin Garnett. Deep down inside, he didn’t want to leave after 12 years. The [Wolves and Garnett] saved each other to give him a chance to win. You have to respect what Tim Duncan has done by staying in a small market. You have to respect what Kevin Durant is doing, staying in OKC. He’s in it to work. When the season is over, you travel, go to Miami, the Bahamas. But in the season, it’s about work.
Q It sounds like it bothers you a little, the mentality of the modern player. Is there something to be said for sticking around in a tough situation and trying to make it better?
A I never crossed over to that superstar status, so their frustration may be a little deeper than mine. At the end of the day, our past superstars never really wanted to leave a city unless their welcome got worn out or they weren’t winning enough and a franchise felt they might have gotten the best out of him and wanted to rebuild. Those guys you can give a pass to, if they were traded, compared to guys like LeBron who just said, “I’m leaving.”
Q Were you surprised Flip called his own number and came back to coach the Wolves this year?
A I called it. If you’re really trying to keep Kevin Love and really show him that you want to change things around, Flip was the best person for it. Deep down inside, Flip wanted to coach a little.
Q The NBA Finals have been fascinating to watch so far. What’s been your impression, and do you think San Antonio is just the better team?
A San Antonio is better, only because they’re deeper. Because they can go nine or 10 deep, that puts pressure on Miami. In the last four minutes of a game, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker are on the bench. When LeBron goes out of the game, you don’t even want to watch Miami play anymore on offense.