Rashad McCants Featured In ESPN The Magizine

The July 26th edition of ESPN The Magazine will feature an article by writer Chris Palmer and it features former Timberwolf, Rashad McCants.  The article gives a very raw look at McCants and there are some interesting quotes by former teammates, coaches and executives. SYRACUSE, NY - MARCH 25: Rashad McCants #32 of the North Carolina Tar Heels claps as the clock winds down on their 67-66 victory over the Villanova Wildcats during their regional semi-final game on March 25, 2005 at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) But the article gives us a clearer view into the double-edged sword that is McCants.  He is talented, works hard, gets a long with most teammates, but he is stubborn, hard-headed and not liked by most executives.

Here is a section for the article which shows what is proabably the view that most people with McCants;

The common refrain about McCants’ predicament is that it has never been about his game. “He’s a pure talent with a high basketball IQ,” former Wolves GM McHale says of his former shooting guard. “Beautiful stroke, great body, everything. His problem was giving himself up to the team.” That view is seconded by many who shared his locker room, whether McCants’ under-his-breath mumbles were directed at them or not. “In any line of work you have to know how to talk to people and when to bite your tongue,” says Kevin Love, who played with McCants two years ago. “Rashad has a me-against-the-world attitude. You have to get past that if you want to help yourself.”

I have been watching McCants since college.  I saw a lot of his games, as many college basketball fans across the nation did, because he wore the powder of North Carolina.  During his three seasons playing for two different coaches, McCants averaged 17 ppg, 4 rpg, 2 apg and 1 steal a game.  He shot 49% from the floor, 42% from distance and 72% from the foul-line.  And was the second leading scorer on the 2005 national championship team.

The Wolves picked McCants with the 14th overall pick in the 2005 draft and played with the Wolves until the trading deadline in 2009.  Statiscally, his best season was ’07-’08 when he averaged 27 minutes a game, shot 45% from the floor, 41% from distance, scored 14.9 ppg and grabbed 2.8 rpg.

Later in the article, McCants looks to be a steady sixth-man;

McCants dreams of carving out a niche as a sixth man. It’s a good living, he thinks, and he knows he’s up to the task. “There isn’t a 2-guard in the league who can guard me,” he says. “Not one.”

This is what I wanted from him when he was in Minnesota, but it never felt like he would buy into coming off the bench.    But when we was committed to playing, he could be amazing – but it never really felt like that.  McCants  would let his shooting, scoring and touches affect the rest of his game.  That will need to change if he wants to stay in the league.

Currently, McCants is on Cleveland’s summer league team and has not played in the first two games.

Long Side-Note:  There seems to have been some railroading of McCants when he was in Minnesota.

Early in the preseason, McCants was driving to the airport when he realized he’d forgotten his Xbox. Knowing his teammates wanted to play on the plane, he drove home to retrieve it. When he finally boarded, three minutes late, [Randy] Wittman was waiting. A week later the two had a meeting. The coach told McCants that his teammates were complaining about his selfishness. “My heart was beating so fast,” says McCants. “I didn’t know what the hell was happening.” Then came the kicker. “You’ve got 11 days to prove you belong on the roster,” McCants says the coach told him, from then on not speaking to his player. (Wittman denies that the meeting took place. “I have an open-door policy,” he says, “and he never walked in to say I was doing him wrong.”)

The situation quickly spiraled. Wittman stripped McCants of his captaincy at a team meeting, bestowing the duties on Jefferson, Mike Miller and Randy Foye. “A couple of those guys didn’t even want the responsibility,” says McCants, who thought Wittman was trying to break him. Stunned and embarrassed gave way to depressed and confused. “Nobody would talk to me,” McCants says. “I didn’t know what was going on.” (Wittman says he doesn’t remember the incident. “I don’t even recall his being captain,” he says. But several players, including Jefferson and Love, say they remember it distinctly.) His minutes withered. “He had a hard time accepting his role,” says Wittman, who’s now an assistant coach with the Wizards. “He’d put his head down and pout and not necessarily give 100 percent.”

The first paragraph is a second example of why McCants can not find a team.  Yes it is good to look out for your teammates, but management needs to know you are willing to meet their expectations and lead by example, especially as a captain – he did neither with the XBox situation.

The second paragraph is what really bothers me.  Managment stripes McCants of his caption status and Wittman does not remember the meeting.  And then adds major salt to the wound with “I don’t even recall his being captain”.  That is such crap – and a complete lie.

McCants was talented, but he struggled to find direction.  Give him ownership.  Yes, being captain was some of that, but instead of threatening him, telling him you need him to step-up to be an example.

It seems like that ball was dropped on all sides – including McCants.  But, I would take him back.

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Tags: Al Jefferson Kevin Love Kevin McHale Rashad McCants

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