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Sam Mitchell Leading Timberwolves Head Coach Candidate?

Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune has reported that, “the new favorite for the Wolves coaching position has to be Sam Mitchell.”

The former Toronto Raptors Head Coach was a power forward with the Timberwolves for 10 seasons between 1989 and 2002.  A true journeyman forward who survived in the NBA for 13 years through hard work, Mitchell averaged 8.7 points and 3.7 rebounds and started in about 25 percent of the games he played.  Because of his own experiences as a player, he expected a lot as a coach, recognizing that effort is as important as skill.

Often called a “Jimmies and Joe’s” coach, Mitchell was a motivator rather than an “Xs and Os” guy and he had a stubborn streak as to how he believed players could be best motivated that likely cost him his job in Toronto.  Hartman doesn’t think Mitchell got a fair shake when the Raptors fired him 17 games into the 2008-2009 season.

Mitchell had a record of 156 wins and 189 losses as a head coach with the Raptors and led Toronto to the playoffs in 2007 and 2008.  He won the NBA Coach of the Year award in 2007 with a franchise high tying 47 regular season wins.

Mitchell would be a solid choice for a Wolves team that has seemed to lack something for a long time now.  Mitchell isn’t going to wow anyone with pretty plays called in from the sidelines during a game, but he he will push his players and the Wolves are a group that could use a hard shove.


Stephen_Brotherston_inside Stephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.