Kurt Rambis

We know what you're thinking—"What? The Timberwolves just sleepwalked through one of the losingest seasons in the franchise's sad history! Did he pay you guys off?"—but we're absolutely serious. Even the most casual basketball fan can see that the Timberwolves' woes stem not from want of leadership but want of talent. Last summer saw Kurt Rambis, longtime Phil Jackson understudy with the L.A. Lakers, assigned the unenviable task of coaching a team put together from scratch while he tried to explain to reporters and himself why the hell that teeny-boppin' Spaniard Ricky Rubio wasn't coming to Minnesota and what that might imply for his ragtag crew. Then came the season, and the Wolves fared exactly as expected—dismally. Amazingly, not only did Rambis not kill himself, he showed a Zen-like patience and keen understanding of both the Xs and Os and his players' personalities. In other words, you could tell why Phil Jackson made him his right-hand man. When he speaks at post-game press conferences, Rambis implicitly makes it clear to everyone in the room that he knows three things: 1) why and when the Wolves imploded, 2) what adjustments need to be made, and 3) that presently he lacks the personnel to make said adjustments. That will surely change this summer, as the Wolves have plenty of cap room to lure some All-Star talent. (Plus, the Rubio soap opera will have played out by 2011). Signed to a four-year contract, Rambis will preside over the entire rebuilding process. Here's hoping he proves our optimism right.


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