Early Sunday evening the Minnesota Timberwolves announced that Head Coach/ President of Basketball of Operations Tom Thibodeau had been fired. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news via his Twitter account. According to Wojnarowski Timberwolves management had been discussing relieving Thibodeau of his duties for a while.
The firing of Thibodeau officially marks the end of the Head Coach/ President of Basketball Operations era in the NBA. Doc Rivers and Stan Van Gundy were the last two coaches to hold these positions. To give coaches the duties of the president along with their daily coaching duties was always a bad idea. There no way a coach can do both jobs effectively. The head coach needs to have their focus totally on coaching the team, and the daily responsibilities that go along with coaching a team. Also, a coach in this position tends to make personnel moves that are not beneficial to the team long term.
You need a President and GM to bring a different perspective to the team. Their sole focus will be on building a successful roster, and handle the day to day business that a coach would not have the time to effectively do. The President, GM, and coach need to be aligned on the direction of the franchise and have the same philosophy when comes to picking players. The successful franchise's run their organizations this way. All one has do is look at the long-term success of the Spurs, the recent success of the Celtics, and of course, the dynasty the Warriors have built.
Early reports have former head coach of the Chicago Bulls and recently fired Fred Holiberg as the leading candidate to replace Thibodeau. Monte Williams who is an assistant coach with the Philadelphia 76ers and who has not held a head coaching position since the tragic passing of his wife is also receiving some consideration. GM Scott Layden will remain the General Manager for now, but according to Wojo his future with the franchise is uncertain.
If I had to grade Thibodeau’s tenure in Minnesota it would be a C-. He finished his tenure with a below five hundred record at 96-107. He made the playoffs once, which was the franchise first appearance since the KG era. His ice defense concept that he developed during his time in Boston revolutionized the game. He could not duplicate the same defensive success in Minnesota. Minnesota ranked near the bottom in defense each of his three seasons in Minnesota. The once-promising Wiggins has regressed as a player under Thibodeau and his development of other young players was virtually nonexistent. The Jimmy Butler dysfunctional soap opera that started right before training camp and lingered into the first part of the season was the beginning of the end.
Will Thibodeau get another head coaching job in the NBA? Only time will tell, but he will have to be willing to change his coaching philosophy. He was still playing his star players high minutes and running them into the ground. He does not develop young players, and now his defenses are ineffective. Thibodeau is a brilliant basketball mind who has been an NBA lifer. Hopefully, he gets another shot, or maybe just maybe he's a better assistant coach.