Randy Wittman's time with the Timberwolves came to a whimpering end last week when owner Glenn Taylor "relieved" Wittman of his head coaching gig. In his 143-game tenure, Wittman tallied a pathetic 38 victories and a .266 winning percentage. Astoundingly, though, this is not the lowest winning percentage in the history of T-Wolves coaches (that dubious honor goes to Jimmy Rodgers's .198). Still, Wittman's departure is not generating many tears among Minnesota's hoop fans given the Wolves' 60 losses last season and laughable four wins in 19 games so far this season. Now the team is under the pride of Minnesota basketball, Kevin McHale, who Taylor insisted give up his vice president of basketball operations title and duties, indicating that McHale will be at least a semi-permanent replacement. This will be McHale's second stint courtside for the Wolves; after Flip Saunders's reign at the Target Center came to an end with 31 games left in the 2004-05 season, McHale took over and helmed the team to an impressive 19-12 finish. These early McHale-era games against Eastern Conference powerhouse Cleveland, and Houston and San Antonio's solid clubs, will be a good indicator of whether McHale can bring the magic touch to a team that has made failures out of the five of the six other men to hold the job.
Wed., Dec. 17, 7 p.m., 2008