Western Notes: Griffin, Mitchell, Suns

Nearly half of the Timberwolves roster has expressed concern regarding the performance of interim coach Sam Mitchell, Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press relays. The players’ concerns stem from issues with Mitchell’s outdated offensive system, his tendency to platoon his rotations and a lack of personal accountability for the team’s struggles, Krawczynski notes. Point guard Zach LaVine answered tersely when asked if Mitchell’s tough love approach was making him a better player, the AP scribe adds. “It’s not fun. Sometimes unfair,” LaVine said. “But he’s the coach, I’m the player and sometimes that’s what you have to deal with. You can’t really do anything about it but play good on the court.

Team owner Glen Taylor doesn’t appear overly concerned that some members of his roster may be frustrated with the coach, Krawczynski notes. “I talk to the players. I talk to the coaches,” Taylor said. “I’m glad that they’re frustrated. I’m sure they’re trying very hard in practice to improve their skills. I know they want to win. I’m confident that it’s just going to be some game that we win against somebody that probably has a better team than us and it just kind of gets us going.

Here’s what else is happening out West:

  • The NBA’s punishment for Blake Griffin, who was involved in a fight with Clippers equipment manager Mathias Testi, may not be known for some time, Mike Bresnahan of The Los Angeles Times writes. The Times scribe cites the duration it has recently taken the league to mete out discipline to Grizzlies small forward Matt Barnes and former Hornets small forward Jeff Taylor as examples of the NBA’s propensity to take its time. Griffin’s injury status will also complicate matters, as any potential suspension he would face would not begin until he was medically cleared to play, notes Bresnahan. The power forward is expected to miss approximately four to six weeks after undergoing surgery this week to repair a fracture in his right hand.
  • With backcourt mates Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight out due to injury, the Suns are now looking to go big with their lineups, Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic writes. “The court looks smaller,” coach Jeff Hornacek said. “Length makes a difference in this league when you have a bunch of it.

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