There are two horrid basketball teams in town.
Last week I called for one of them to change coaches.
I didn’t mention the lesser of the two horrid basketball teams - the Minnesota Gophers.
I believe Sam Mitchell’s old-school offense and old-school thinking have destroyed what should have been a transition season for the Timberwolves. Since started 8-8, the Wolves are 5-23. That is the worst record in the NBA during that time.
Mitchell has been given two of the best young players in the game, plus a remarkably talented prospect in Zach LaVine, and has done as little as is humanly possible with them. That’s why I would like to see a change.
Richard Pitino’s program is in far worse shape than the Timberwolves’, and it’s all his fault. As he has admitted, he did a horrible job of constructing this roster. He has also done a terrible job of preparing this team for games, at least until a week ago. The Gophers’ performances against Indiana and Michigan were probably about as good as could have been expected under these circumstances.
So why call for a change with the Wolves and not the Gophers?
Because timing and circumstance always matter in sports.
Mitchell is an interim coach who will be reevaluated this summer. I don’t think he’s done enough to keep the job, and I believe there are great coaches available who would kill to coach Towns and Wiggins. It doesn’t make sense to keep him, especially since he hasn’t seemed to develop the kind of bond with his young stars that would encourage to buy instead of rent in Minneapolis.
Pitino has had an even worse season than Mitchell. But he is not an interim coach, and he works for an organization that doesn’t have an entrenched athletic director or a president who is sports-savvy. Unlike in Mitchell’s case, Pitino’s best players are not here yet. They will arrive next season, and they could combine with Jordan Murphy and Nate Mason and some of the other youngsters who are truly promising to attempt to build a winner.
Mitchell is a better coach than Pitino right now, but Pitino, under these circumstances, will get a longer look. That might not seem fair, but it makes sense.
New at MalePatternPodcasts.com: Old friend Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report and I discussed the NFL playoffs, Teddy, the Vikings, the Packers, the quarterbacks remaining and...Star Trek. Tim Yotter of Viking Update and I broke down all of the team's roster decisions. Jon Krawczynski of Associated Press and I went deep on Mitchell's tenure, and, as always, he recommended a local place to eat.
The next Russo-Souhan Show is 4:30 Monday at Tom Reid's Hockey City Pub. Next pod up: My conversation with former Vikings quarterback Brad Johnson, tomorrow morning.