"From Midwest Sports Cooperative.com, excerpts from an interview with Randy Wittman, head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves. After 41 games, the team is last in the Northwest Division, at 13-28, and there are rumblings that Wittman's job may be on the line. At the mid-season break, we sat down with Randy to get his perspective on the season so far:
MSC - Thanks for taking the time with us!
Randy - I'm always happy to talk to fledgling news organizations. You may be out of business quicker than I am.
MSC - Okay...give us a thumbnail sketch of how the season's gone.
Randy - Well, of course, once again for the second year in a row, we've had one of key pieces get hurt in the pre-season. Last year it was Foye, and this year it was Big Al. Jefferson's injury wasn't as bad as Randy's, but given the all the additions on the club this year, it prevented us from jelling early. That set us back, especially on defense, and the chemistry between Love and Jefferson.
MSC - Grade Kevin Love for us...how's the rookie been so far?
Randy - We knew when we traded for him there was talent there. Kevin McHale saw a lot of himself in the rook, and we know McHale was a Hall of Famer, right? But, a pre-season incident seem to shake Love's confidence right at the start...losing the jump ball tip to Randy Breuer at the season ticket holder's celebration in September. We all knew Love was undersized, and how tall Breuer is, but let's face it, Randy's old, and he never could jump a lick. Love's confidence in not being able to out jump a old white guy has haunted him ever since. It'd be like losing the tip to the Mikan statue out in the Target Center. Lately, he's shown signs of coming out of the funk, but we're still waiting for him to emerge.
MSC- How about the backcourt? Who' s been both good and disappointing?
Randy - As you know, Shaddy's had some issues. He's always had trouble accepting coming off the bench, and it's getting closer to free agency, so of course he wants to shine. Foye has been decent, but still lacks the fourth quarter explosiveness we were expecting out of him. Bassy has been a solid backup, but he still misses those bunnies right at the basket. If he wants to play meaningful minutes at the end, he has to provide some credible threat, or else teams will just sag off of him and guard other folks. Mike Miller has been sensational, a true veteran in every way. We wouldn't have won thirteen games without him. Corey is still a work in progress.
MSC- There's been more than a few rumors out there that if you don't improve in the second half of the season, your job is at stake. Any thoughts? What's your plan?
Randy - You can only work with what's been given you. A head coach in the NBA is hired to be fired, so you can't let that bother you. McHale promised a 20 win improvement at the end of last year, and given the talent he acquired over the off-season, if everything went okay, I certainly thought we might have a shot. But as I've pointed out, we had some pre-season bumps in the road, and I think we're still recovering from that. I like our club though, the roster chemistry is great. Regardless of anyone's individual situation, they're all pulling for each other, and working real hard. That's all I can ask of them, outside of a couple of more wins in the close games.
MSC - Thanks for your time!
Randy - Hope we actually talk again...
Part II coming tomorrow, check back at MSC.com."