Tom Thibodeau was fired by the Timberwolves for these 5 causes – SB Nation

Tom Thibodeau was fired by the Timberwolves for these 5 causes – SB Nation

Tom Thibodeau Was Fired By The Timberwolves For These 5 Causes - SB Nation

Tom Thibodeau was fired by the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday with the group two video games under .500 and two video games exterior of the NBA playoffs bracket within the deep, tough Western Convention. Thibodeau had two jobs with the Wolves: head coach and president of basketball operations. He misplaced each gigs.

The final president-coach standing within the NBA — possibly the final ever? — is Gregg Popovich, and Pop actually does go away plenty of the player-personnel decision-making (so far as we will inform) to R.C. Buford.

So in a method, Thibodeau’s exit represents the top of an period. Scott Layden stays because the Wolves’ normal supervisor, with Ryan Saunders taking on as interim head coach. (Saunders, at age 32, is the youngest NBA head coach in a long time, in line with my admittedly transient and fallible analysis.)

Don’t cry for Thibodeau: he’s nonetheless due about $20 million in wage from the Timberwolves, and he doesn’t even have to look at Andrew Wiggins anymore. In that spirit, it’s value itemizing out why Thibodeau’s tenure with the Wolves failed.

So listed here are the highest 5 causes Thibodeau was fired, from the attitude of an out of doors observer.

5. Bulls fetishism

The whole Timberbulls thing is an effective joke, nevertheless it’s additionally an indictment of Thibodeau’s lack of creativity. The truth that Minnesota below Thibodeau has signed so many aged former Thibodeau-era Bulls is a logo of the coach’s reliance on acquainted crutches as an alternative of daring creativeness in chasing supplemental free brokers and commerce targets.

Signing Derrick Rose in 2017-18 and taking part in him forward of younger gamers with progress curves was embarrassing, even when Rose has performed properly this season. Buying and selling for Butler is an entire ‘nother matter (see No. Four on this listing), however then including Taj Gibson (an excellent dude and strong position participant who didn’t appear to make a long-lasting impression) and Luol Deng was simply foolish.

Roster spots are worthwhile commodities in at the moment’s NBA. Thibodeau by no means actually appeared to respect that.

4. The preliminary Jimmy Butler commerce

Few issues are solely good or solely unhealthy on this world. So it goes with the preliminary Jimmy Butler commerce.

The Timberwolves despatched Lauri Markkanen, Kris Dunn, and the chance to pay Zach LaVine massive sums of cash to the Bulls for Butler and Justin Patton. Patton has performed 4 NBA minutes, and Butler lasted a scratch multiple season earlier than forcing his method out. That season did embrace a uncommon Minnesota playoff berth, and the Wolves do now have Robert Covington and Dario Saric to indicate for it.

Would you, as a group on the sting of the playoff race, reasonably have Markkanen on a rookie deal, or Covington and Saric? Many groups would in all probability take Markkanen since he has a shot at being a star, however in all probability not all of them.

The truth that the Wolves gave up one thing of actual worth for Butler to solely preserve him for a yr issues in grading Thibodeau’s legacy.

3. Andrew Wiggins’ contract

It’s onerous to understand how a lot Thibodeau is guilty for Andrew Wiggins’ five-year, $148 million contract in the summertime of 2017, since we all know franchisee Glen Taylor was concerned within the Wiggins negotiations in some vogue. However Wiggins is on one of many single worst contracts in all the NBA, and it was signed on Thibodeau’s watch as president of basketball operations.

Additional, Wiggins has clearly regressed since Thibodeau arrived in 2016. He’s the uncommon lottery decide who bought worse as his rookie deal progressed.

The issue with being answerable for every part is that every part is your fault, a technique or one other. Participant growth? It’s on you. Cap administration? It’s on you. Roster match? It’s on you. No matter you select to pin as the rationale Wiggins is on one of many worst offers within the league, it’s on Thibodeau. He was accountable for all of it.

2. Protection is useless

Thibodeau’s calling card and declare to NBA fame was at all times protection. That’s how these Bulls groups received video games and playoff collection: by ravenous the opponents of factors.

Right here’s the place the Wolves ranked in factors allowed per 100 possessions in 2016-17, 2017-18 and as of Jan. 7 this season: No. 27, No. 25, No. 17.

That’s truthfully probably the most stunning factor about Thibodeau’s tenure within the Twin Cities: he by no means bought the protection collectively, even with Butler round. A part of that’s on the gamers — protection shouldn’t be Cities’ power, Wiggins hasn’t reached his potential on that finish, and changing Ricky Rubio with Jeff Teague was a defensive downgrade.

Nevertheless it’s fairly clear that the brand new NBA offensive actuality has rendered Thibodeau’s defensive system weakened and maybe useless. If a Thibodeau group can’t defend properly, what’s the purpose of all this? That is a part of the issue with having such a transparent id and calling card: when it falls aside, you’ve bought little to fall again on.

Minnesota had a extremely good offense in 2017-18 with Cities and Butler, however that feels extra like expertise than scheme, a truth backed up by the Wolves’ slipping offense this season with out Jimmy.

1. The Jimmy Butler saga

All different causes shrink within the shadow created by Thibodeau’s terrible dealing with of the Jimmy Butler saga.

To recap concisely:

  • Butler declared he wouldn’t re-sign with the Timberwolves in 2019 and was held out of coaching camp, preferring a commerce.
  • Thibodeau, satisfied he might persuade Butler to vary his thoughts now or subsequent summer season, let it occur whereas attempting to get Butler to camp.
  • Butler ultimately confirmed up for a observe, solely to embarrass Cities and Wiggins as a prelude to an incoherent ESPN interview that made it seem Jimmy was mad the Wolves didn’t blow up their roster to offer him a balloon increase earlier than free company hit.
  • Thibodeau by no means appeared to push again towards Butler or defend Cities, the franchise’s true centerpiece, and ultimately traded Jimmy to the Sixers.

It was an open query in the course of the saga as to whether Thibodeau was willing (or even trying) to get fired over Butler. The reply appears clear now: sure on the primary depend, fairly presumably on the second.

Thibodeau, reputed as old skool and a hard-ass, let Butler dance throughout him for months, after which gave Butler what he wished. The entire basketball world noticed how this was going at first of the saga. As soon as Thibodeau began attempting to bop with Butler, the ending of all of it got here into view. Sunday introduced the fruit of that catastrophe with a boot out the door.

Thibodeau deserved to lose his job with the Timberwolves over his full mismanagement of the Butler saga, and on Sunday he did. It might not have been avoidable, nevertheless it positive was predictable.


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Tom Thibodeau Was Fired By The Timberwolves For These 5 Causes - SB Nation
Tom Thibodeau Was Fired By The Timberwolves For These 5 Causes - SB Nation
Tom Thibodeau Was Fired By The Timberwolves For These 5 Causes - SB Nation
Tom Thibodeau Was Fired By The Timberwolves For These 5 Causes - SB Nation
Tom Thibodeau Was Fired By The Timberwolves For These 5 Causes - SB Nation

Tom Thibodeau Was Fired By The Timberwolves For These 5 Causes - SB Nation

Tom Thibodeau Was Fired By The Timberwolves For These 5 Causes - SB Nation