There are those who recognize the ubiquity of the three-point shot in the modern NBA as a step in the right direction, and then there are those who cling stubbornly to antiquated ideas about basketball that have little basis in reality.
Minnesota Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders gleefully joined the latter ranks Wednesday when he told the media before a game against the Portland Trailblazers that he doesn’t think Rookie of the Year candidate Andrew Wiggins should worry about adding the long-ball to his repertoire.
Now, to be fair, Wiggins hasn’t been very effective from behind the arc this season. He shoots a paltry 31.9 percent, but in the pace-and-space era, it’s absurd to think that a player with Wiggins’ potential shouldn’t add another potentially deadly facet to this game that would open up all sorts of opportunities for both himself and his teammates.
Shockingly, Saunders isn’t the only current NBA head coach face-palmingly averse to three-point shooting. Byron Scott – who has been a runaway ill-advised quote machine lately – set the tenor for the Lakers back during the preseason when he famously offered his opinion on the matter: “I don’t believe it wins championships. (It) gets you to the playoffs.” At the time, Baxter Holmes of ESPN.com was quick to point out that, in fact, the exact opposite is true:
It’s unclear whether Saunders – who is also team president – will remain head coach after this season. He and Kevin Garnett might very well be preoccupied with trying to purchase the franchise. According to Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune, Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor would prefer to hire a new coach next season to let Saunders focus primarily on front office concerns, although Taylor relented that he will allow Saunders to coach next year if he wants.
For Wiggins’ sake, and for the sake of hoops philosophies based on empirical evidence rather than crotchety, obsolete ideas, the Wolves might be better off with Saunders watching games from a cushy suite box instead of the sideline.