The Timberwolves front office announced this afternoon that Kurt Rambis will replace Kevin McHale as the young team's head coach.
During the announcement, Timberwolves President David Kahn described the playing style he expects the young Wolves will take on next year.
"We will be a running, up-tempo team," he said. "Yes, there will be many instances when we will need to rely upon Al Jefferson and a halfcourt offense, but our identity will be fastbreak basketball. As a player, Kurt was a member of the Los Angeles Lakers 'Showtime' teams. Those teams thrived by using an up-tempo style, yet knew how to score in the halfcourt when necessary. They also played outstanding defense. Kurt is committed to employing such a style that will complement the young, athletic players we are assembling."
The decision to go run-and-gun makes sense. If the Ricky Rubio is on-board next season (and it appears increasingly likely that he will be), the Wolves will feature two undersized PGs in the backcourt, the other being hyper-athletic rookie Jonny Flynn. Getting out on the break will accenuate the team's strengths (atheticism, court-vision) while downplaying its weakness (experience, size). And let's face it: high-scoring acrobatics sell tickets, and--thought they've got a good foundation--don't expect the Wolves to dominate the Western Conference just yet. Getting over .500 would be an achievement.
Here's Kahn's statement in its entirety:
Dear Timberwolves fans and supporters,
I'm pleased to announce that we've reached an agreement in principle with Kurt Rambis to be our new head coach. The search was extensive and thorough, and I'm completely confident that Kurt is the right man to help us develop into a championship-caliber team.
Kurt played for Pat Riley and coached alongside Phil Jackson, arguably two of the three greatest coaches in NBA history. He is ready for this.
Each candidate for this job had three threshold issues they had to agree to in order to be considered:
(1) I want our franchise to become the league leader in player development, and player development starts with the head coach. It is his job to execute this vision.
(2) We will be a running, up-tempo team. Yes, there will be many instances when we will need to rely upon Al Jefferson and a halfcourt offense, but our identity will be fastbreak basketball.
As a player, Kurt was a member of the Los Angeles Lakers "Showtime" teams. Those teams thrived by using an up-tempo style, yet knew how to score in the halfcourt when necessary. They also played outstanding defense. Kurt is committed to employing such a style that will complement the young, athletic players we are assembling.
(3) The minutes distributed to our young nucleus in the next two years must be done with an eye toward the big picture and not the short term. Meaning, we must play our young players consistently and let them learn through their mistakes, even if it means sacrificing a win or two along the way.
With his vast experience in the NBA as a championship player and coach, Kurt has the ability to help lay the foundation for what we aim to be -- NBA champions. He is, by all accounts, hard working and a hands-on teacher. He will help shape and mold our players to bring out the best in them.
The two other finalists for this position, Mark Jackson and Elston Turner, are tremendous persons worthy of a head coaching opportunity. They are class individuals. But, in the end, I believed Kurt's personality, background and experience made him the best fit for us.
As always, thank you for your interest and passion.