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December 8, 2008

Fourth Coaching Change: McHale Replaces Wittman

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin Pelton @ 5:18 pm

At this point, one could sustain an entire blog simply by keeping track of the NBA’s coaching changes during the early portion of the 2008-09 season. Monday brought our fourth dismissal, with Minnesota’s Randy Wittman the victim. The surprise is not that Wittman was fired but that he will be replaced by Kevin McHale and that McHale will relinquish his position as vice president of basketball operations in order to focus on coaching.

This all raises a lot of questions, some of which may be answered shortly when we hear more from McHale and Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor. It’s no secret that Minnesota has been grooming former player Fred Hoiberg, currently the team’s assistant GM, to ultimately take over for McHale. Will this be Hoiberg’s chance? Will McHale ride off into the sunset after serving as coach? Does he plan to continue coaching beyond this season?

McHale has been maligned for his player personnel work, and fairly so. However, there is enough talent on this Minnesota roster–particularly on the offensive end–that SCHOENE saw the Timberwolves on the fringe of the playoff picture. In part, Wittman was victimized by bad luck early in the season. Even that can’t explain how poorly Minnesota has played or the failure to develop the team’s young draft picks. Wittman’s two tours of coaching duty have done little to demonstrate that he has a positive impact on his teams as a head coach.

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