Courtsey of Foxsports.com - By Charlie Rosen, NBA writer
MINNEAPOLIS - Several extremely well-qualified NBA assistant and ex-head coaches didn't even apply for the Minnesota job because they think the front office is loaded with know-nothings. Case in point, the insistence from the team's brain trust that they expect to have a losing record in the upcoming season. Losing is, in fact, OK.
This admission, as true as it very well might be, is asking for trouble.
If losing is officially acceptable, then why should the players knock themselves out diving for loose balls and otherwise putting their well-being at risk in trying to win games? As soon as a ball game turns against them, what's to prevent several players from devoting their primary energy and focus to just getting theirs?
For sure, the prognosis is a correct one — the T-Wolves are years away from being a solid team. And the main purpose behind the lose-lose statement is to take some pressure off of Kurt Rambis as well as to prepare the fan base for routine disappointments.
But such dire predictions are better left unsaid.
While Kurt Rambis is good people and I surely do hope that he does well with the T-Wolves, he will need to change his habitual game plan in order to gain his players' loyalty. There's no doubting his expertise in the coach's alphabet of Xs and Os, but in the past Rambis has demonstrated an overriding cynicism toward even the Lakers' players that — if uncorrected — could undermine his effectiveness in his new job.
Whatever his public posture might have been, in private Rambis nearly always accentuated the negative aspects of players' performances. They don't work hard enough. They're too stat conscious. On this-or-that play they zigged instead of zagged. And so on.
Perhaps working under Phil Jackson has softened Rambis' attitude and made him more accepting of players' flaws and more patient in general. If he indeed has reached a new level of relational maturity, then Rambis could turn out to be an excellent coach and leader.