If you weren’t aware, the Minnesota Timberwolves have recently fired head coach and president, Tom Thibodeau.
Thibodeau spent 4 seasons with the team, ending up tied for the 2nd most wins in franchise history, while finishing 2nd in win percentage (behind the late Flip Saunders). “Thibs” as he is more well-known, wasn’t exactly the most liked head coach, and was definitely far from the most liked president of basketball operations. Fans have dubbed the past 2 years the Timberbulls era, with Thibodeau brining in former Bulls that he has coached, including Jimmy Butler, Derrick Rose, Taj Gibson and Luol Deng among others.
Especially with the Jimmy Butler saga having taken a toll on the Timberwolves on the season, along with poor rotation management, some fans have been frantically requesting the Timberwolves to fire Coach Thibs. It is well-known that Thibs likes to play his players for too long, which causes fatigue and stamina. Also, despite being known as a defensive coach, the Timberwolves struggled to find their defensive identity until they brought in Robert Covington and Dario Saric.
Now, the Timberwolves are without a permanent head coach, but three candidates have already emerged as possible names. Here they are.
1. Ryan Saunders
Ryan Saunders is the son of the late Flip Saunders, who was the most successful head coach in franchise history. Ryan has a long way before he is able to fill his father’s shoes in Minnesota, but after serving as the assistant coach for the past few years, Saunders has been chosen as the Timberwolves’ interim head coach for the remainder of the season. He is only 32 years old, but Glen Taylor has stated that he is interested in Saunders becoming the full-time head coach if he performs well for the rest of the season. Additionally, rans have long been wanting the Minnesota native to move onto the head coaching position, even with Thibodeau still around. It’s exciting to see what he can do for the remaining of the season, and we quite possibly might see him as the head coach for the future of the team.
2. Fred Hoiberg
In 2015, Hoiberg became the head coach of the Chicago Bulls, replacing Tom Thibodeau in the role. In 2019, that may happen again. Adrian Wojnarowski has mentioned Hoiberg’s name as one that has come up in conversations to replace Thibodeau, just as he did a few years back. Hoiberg was actually a former Timberwolves player himself, and was even an assistant GM 9 years ago. With connections to both the front office and Minnesota, there is a big chance that Hoiberg could end up taking over in the offseason. I personally do not like his fit with the team, but time will tell.
3. Chauncey Billups
Another name mentioned by Woj in the Timberwolves’ head coach sweepstakes is Chauncey Billups. Despite being known for his time on the Pistons, Billups had actually played for the Timberwolves during the early 2000’s. Billups can occasionally be found on ESPN, and has just recently played in Ice Cube’s BIG 3 league. Billups does not have any professional coaching experience, but is well-known for his high basketball IQ during his time as an NBA player.
Those are the 3 most likely candidates to become the Timberwolves head coach. I personally would like to see Saunders succeed and lead the team to the playoffs, and eventually get that permanent head coaching position.