On Sunday night the Minnesota Timberwolves dismissed their Head Coach Ryan Saunders. The decision came following another painful loss to the New York Knicks against none other than Tom Thibodeau. Almost immediately, Shams Charania of The Athletic announced that Toronto Raptors assistant coach Chris Finch would be the replacement.
Chris Finch is becoming the new Timberwolves head coach on a full-time basis, not as an interim, sources said. The Timberwolves fired Ryan Saunders tonight after loss to the Knicks in New York. https://t.co/HFVdycuEUv
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 22, 2021
The Chris Finch Dossier
Where did he come from?
Chris Finch is by no means a household name, but has undoubtedly paid his dues and should be prepared to take on the role of an NBA head coach. Finch began his basketball career as a player for Franklin and Marshall College in Pennsylvania. His professional career began in England, playing for the Sheffield Sharks, and he would become the head coach of the team a few years later. He would move on to coach in Germany and Belgium, winning a championship with the Euphony Bree before returning to the U.S.
Finch coached in the G-Leauge first, hired by none other than Gersson Rosas. The Rio Grande Valley Vipers would capture their first-ever playoff berth as the first seed, and go on to win the championship.
The Rockets then brought Finch up as an assistant coach. He would spend five years in that position before moving on to the Denver Nuggets, New Orleans Pelicans, and starting this year as an assistant coach for the Raptors.
Make it make sense. Respectfully. https://t.co/4crtNzWV0W
— CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) February 22, 2021
In their press conference, Rosas explained that the worst team in the league record-wise should not be looking inward to fill a head coaching position. He continued to highlight Finch’s diverse experience and past success. Finch was a finalist in 2019 for the position when Ryan Saunders was hired for the job.
The timing of the hire would indicate that Finch had been decided as the next coach before Saunders was dismissed. According to Rosas, Saunders was let go following the Knicks game, and later that night the Raptors granted the Timberwolves permission to speak with Finch. The deal was finalized Monday morning.
As an experienced coach, Finch has developed a reputation as an offensive mastermind. He has been attributed to some of the offensive improvement with the Raptors this season. Last year they ranked 16th in offense as opposed to 10th this season. Raptors Head Coach Nick Nurse has spoken about Finch in the past, saying, “He got the most out of his talent, his teams played super hard. He played team basketball. And he won.”
Finch stressed the importance of randomness and complementary skills in his press conference. “What I’ve learned about coaching is create a structure with some rules and get out of the way.”
Finch will be looking to “play fast and free” while making Karl-Anthony Towns the central point of the offense. These comments from Finch aren’t a surprise for those who know him. He has drawn comparisons to Nurse and Mike D’Antoni for his conviction, creativity, and mindset. Timberwolves fans should be excited for a future with Finch at the helm.
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