Things got off to an encouraging 8-8 start for the Minnesota Timberwolves this season, but the wheels have fallen off since, with the T-Pups dropping 24 of their last 30 games.
The team’s young core has reportedly grown increasingly unhappy with head coach Sam Mitchell and his old-school methods.
Second-year guard Zach LaVine has been a target of Mitchell’s tough love, and says that he (and other frustrated players on the roster) just have to keep gritting their teeth.
Per the AP:
“I tell Zach all the time, when he gets through this, he’s going to be a much better player because he’s going to have went through the fire,” Mitchell said earlier this month after LaVine broke out of a shooting slump. “He’s going to be tried and tested. He’s going to have felt low and dejected sometimes. But that’s how point guards are made.” […] “It’s not fun. Sometimes unfair,” LaVine said. “But he’s the coach, I’m the player and sometimes that’s what you have to deal with. You can’t really do anything about it but play good on the court.”
Mitchell believes his approach is starting to pay dividends for his youngest players — 20-year-olds Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns and LaVine, 23-year-old Shabazz Muhammad — who are tasked with rescuing a woebegone franchise. […] But nearly half the roster of 15 players privately expressed concerns about Mitchell that centered on three basic tenets: His outdated offensive system, his tendency to platoon his rotations and a lack of personal accountability for the struggles. The players spoke on condition of anonymity because they did not want to publicly criticize their head coach.
Owner Glen Taylor said he knows Mitchell has a difficult task taking over for Flip Saunders, who died from Hodgkin’s lymphoma in October. Taylor also said the team’s 14-32 record and struggles at home that have led to dwindling attendance have not been easy to watch. […] “If anything at the beginning of the year I said I needed to be patient. If anything I have learned this year I probably have to be even more patient,” Taylor said before the Timberwolves beat Memphis on Saturday.