Tom Thibodeau and Luke Walton have different coaching styles and varying levels of success.
With both their teams out of the postseason yet again, Luke Walton and Tom Thibodeau find themselves in similar situations.
They’re both new head coaches trying to steer young teams into the right direction.
They’re also both accustomed to winning environments, unlike their present ones. However, their goals as the season came to an end were completely different.
Tom Thibodeau tried to reach their preseason goal of making the playoffs. He did everything he possibly can to make up for the team’s poor start and surpass the other few teams battling for the eighth spot. Luke Walton on the other hand, looked to lose as much as possible to protect the team’s lottery pick.
Luke Walton on the other hand, looked to lose as much as possible to protect the team’s lottery pick.
And yet, the Lakers found themselves thriving at the end of the season. No matter who Walton played, they were able to succeed, winning five of their last six games.
Meanwhile, the Minnesota Timberwolves completely stumbled to the finish line. Despite Thibodeau’s best efforts to keep them competitive, they ended the season on a six-game losing streak. They played with no heart or effort and it showed on the court.
This leads me to the question: Why weren’t the Timberwolves able to play with half as much heart as the Lakers?
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The Lakers were a team who had every reason to give up on the season.
Maybe this has to do with the different coaching styles between Walton and Thibodeau.
Luke Walton has a very laid-back approach to coaching. While he still holds his players accountable, he doesn’t believe in yelling at them publicly. This has worked well for him as he is very well liked by his players.
While the team struggled to win this season, they did improve from last year as well. Most notably, he has managed to resurrect Nick Young’s career while also helping the young core improve.
Tom Thibodeau, however, is a no-nonsense kind of guy. When his players mess up he’s not afraid to rip them a new one during a time out. There hasn’t been a single game where you can’t hear his broken voice serving as background commentary for the entire 48 minutes.
This approach definitely worked in Chicago as they had their best stretch of success since Michael Jordan left. However, the same cannot be said about Minnesota.
The Timberwolves were rather disappointing this season. They failed to reach the post season and won only two more games than last season.
Perhaps Thibodeau being hard on the players isn’t helping. This is not to say that Thibodeau’s style is bad, as it has clearly worked before. But maybe with a young team, it would be better to have a more laid back attitude and a softer control on them.