The Minnesota Timberwolves lost for New York Knicks on Sunday to fall to a worst league 7-24 this season. That defeat turned out to be the last straw for the management and the team announced shortly after the match that they have fired coach Ryan Saunders.
What’s more, they already have a replacement lined up. Toronto Raptors assistant Chris Finch is expected to be named their new coach, according to Shams Charania from The Athletic. The wolves’ press release stated that a formal announcement should be made on Monday.
Son of the late Flip Saunders, Ryan got his start in NBA as an assistant with Washington Wizards and was on the bench in DC 2009-2014. He then took an assistant job with the Timberwolves and was eventually appointed interim coach after Tom Thibodeau was fired in 2019. After that season, he signed an agreement to take the job permanently and 33 years old was the youngest head coach. in the league.
In a little less than two full-season games, the Timberwolves went 43-94 under the Saunders. They finished with the third worst record in the league last season – eventually they won the lottery and took Anthony Edwards with the total election No. 1 2020 NBA draft – and had the worst record so far this season before firing.
At some level, Saunders got stuck in an impossible situation. There was almost total roster conversion during his time, and more games lost to damage than you can count on. When Karl-Anthony Towns has only played 45 games in the last two seasons, there is only so much you can do. Still, with such results, it is no surprise that the front office finally decided to go in a different direction.
They now turn to Finch, the highly regarded Raptors assistant, who was a forerunner of many jobs during the off-season. Finch began his coaching career abroad in 1997 and has been on an NBA bench since 2011 when he was hired by Houston Rockets. The president of the basketball business in Houston at the time was Gersson Rosas, who now runs the wolf’s front office.
Finch is highly regarded for his work on the offensive side of the ball, and Raptors coach Nick Nurse has called him “one of the best offensive brains in the NBA.” In an interview with The Athletic last year, Finch noted his affiliation to play fast and try to be unpredictable.
It will be interesting to see what he can do with a Wolves team that has a lot of talent but has not been able to put things together. Obviously, injuries are a big warning here, but they are ranked No. 28 in offense this season and make just 105.7 points per 100 possessions.
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