Notebook: McHale keeps it simple in return to Timberwolves sideline
OK, maybe we don't feel so bad for him about that last one.
McHale hates travel. He doesn't like late nights or the beating it puts on his body. And he's not, at least according to Nuggets guard
"I do not think he wanted this job," Timberwolves forward
But the Timberwolves are, unequivocally, McHale's mess: He drafted, acquired and signed each player on the roster, which is why owner
"If I didn't want to coach this team, I wouldn't have," insisted McHale, who coached Minnesota to a 19-12 finish after he fired
McHale's first order of business has been to simplify the playbook. Wittman was a hands-on coach who liked to control the game. Not McHale. He has asked his players to pick up the tempo and, when they can't run, try to identify mismatches and exploit them every time down the floor. He said
"I feel as though he saw a lot of guys who he drafted or acquired, the way he pictured us being used, we weren't being used that way," guard
Said McHale: "You want to avoid the other team's top two defenders and go at their worst.
With McHale on the bench, the responsibility of rebuilding the team falls to general manager
Hoiberg said that even though McHale is no longer calling the shots, the team will still consult with him on potential deals.
"We consulted with Randy, too," Hoiberg said. "Kevin was in the front office for 14 years. We value his opinion."
Hoiberg said there is no plan in place for McHale to return to the front office after the season.
"I think he is committed to coaching," Hoiberg said. "Kevin has the unique ability to get in your mind and see what makes you tick. His biggest strength is that he can make you feel 10 feet tall. Hopefully he can get this thing moving and coach this team for a long time."
A source close to the 76ers told SI.com that former Pistons coach
The Cavaliers' offseason acquisition of
But Williams has emerged as one of Cleveland's most consistent all-around players this season, joining with
"Mo used to be a guy who only got up for the
"It's different here," Williams said in a telephone interview. "There wasn't much attention [paid] to detail on defense in Milwaukee. You can see the difference in the schemes we run. We don't let the other team get where they want to go and we force them into quick, bad shots."
Williams admitted that it's hard to not keep one eye on Boston, with both teams appearing to be on a collision course for the Eastern Conference finals.
"We're just getting geared up for it," Williams said. "We're a good team now, but by then we will be playing exceptionally well."
I spent most of last week in Denver reporting this week's
• Beyond Billups' significant impact on the court (Denver is 16-5 since his arrival), the Nuggets' front office believes he has made the team "likable." The feeling in Denver is that many fans viewed the team unfavorably. But with Billups, as polished off the court as he is on it, Denver now has a professional face on the franchise.
• Some teammates believe Billups should run for mayor of Denver when his playing career is over. Billups downplayed the idea. "I know exactly who told you that," Billups said with a smile. "Politics have never been my thing. I got involved with the presidential election because of who the candidate [
• Billups acknowledged that when he heard rumors that he might be traded last offseason, he asked Pistons presidents
Two D-League point guards who could draw interest from NBA teams:
Absolutely. When I talked to scouts after the trade, they pointed to McDyess' ability to hit the perimeter jump shot as a huge loss for the Pistons. Moreover, even at 34, McDyess is still a solid defender whose presence helps relieve pressure from
I don't hear too many informed people questioning Oden's abilities. I think the general understanding is that Oden is a work in progress. Everyone I talk to says he is already one of the best defensive centers in the game. The only question is, How will his offensive game develop? It was unfair to place such high expectations on Oden this season, because he was coming back from a serious knee injury and hadn't played high-level basketball in a year and a half. He'll be fine. Check back in three years and I think we will all share a good laugh at those who doubted Oden's talents.
I don't think Grunfeld is in any trouble. He and Eddie Jordan were like oil and water. Jordan was an extremely gifted offensive coach but Grunfeld preferred a tough, defensive-minded man on the bench. That's why he chose
As for Grunfeld, he is considered one of the brightest executives in the NBA and, as you pointed out, has the ear of ownership. And let's not forget, this Wizards team has made the playoffs in each of the last four seasons. With a few tweaks (say, a high draft pick) and some good health (hello,