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Ryan Saunders Talking About His Dad At His Press Conference Today Was Pretty Awesome

Damn, someone must be cutting onions in my house because watching Ryan Saunders talk about Flip at his introductory press conference has me all sorts of choked up. After Saunders took over for Thibs he became the youngest coach in the NBA, in fact he’s younger than 42 active players which is pretty crazy to think about. At just 33 years old this man is running an NBA team which is cool to think about but then also depressing because that’s way more of an accomplishment than I’ll ever have by the time I turn 33 next year.

After spending the previous 5 years as a MIN assistant the team had mixed results once he became the interim head coach, they finished just 17-25 in the 42 games which was slightly worse than the 19-21 Thibs had them through during his 40 games. But to me, this was a no brainer move and not just because of who his Dad was. Since Ryan took over, here’s where the Timberwolves ranked

Offense: 13th
Defense: 27th
Net rating: 21st

Compared to the Thibs way of doing things

Offense: 15th
Defense: 17th
Net rating: 18th

Now obviously they lost Jimmy Butler and then only had Robert Covington, a guy who is an All NBA defensive caliber player, for only 22 games including a total of 0 once Saunders took over. That’s going to impact your defensive numbers, so I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt there. The one thing that’s clear with this situation is the players certainly responded better to Saunders than they did to Thibs who everyone 100% hated. I know some people out there may think he only got this job because of who his Dad was, but given the other candidates out there tell me a better choice would have been? I’ll remind you that once Saunders took over KAT exploded, averaging 26.8/12.4/3.7 on 54/42% splits. More importantly he took 17.9 FGA which led the team. Those are better numbers across the board from the Thibs era, and to me that’s the #1 thing the Wolves need to figure out. Much less Andrew Wiggins, way more Karl-Anthony Towns. If Saunders is the guy that figured out that KAT is actually their best player and deserves more of a role, well he’s already starting off in a better position than Thibs.

It’s certainly not easy to live up to a legend like Flip Saunders, the guy’s 427 wins are the most all time for MIN and it’s not even remotely close. The next closest is Rick Adelman/Thibs who both had 97, so as you can see they’ve been starved for an answer ever since his last year in 2015. Hearing Saunders at his press conference you can clearly tell this is an emotional thing for him, and it’s not often you see that type of reaction during an introductory press conference.

Hopefully Flip works some magic from heaven because the Wolves went back to missing the playoffs after making it for the first time in 15 years last season, and the first step is obviously establishing some stability with your head coach. Now that they have that, it’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out.

But seriously, just give the ball to KAT and let him shoot every single time. Boom now you’re the Coach of The Year