When a team is 16-37 and way out of the playoff chase despite entering the season with dreams of a top-eight seed, when a team lost 13 games in a row and goes 5-27 into the All-Star break, when a team’s roster needs to be shaken up to work, it’s often the coach who gets blamed and takes the fall. Whether it was his fault or not.
That struggling team above is the Minnesota Timberwolves, but Ryan Saunders’ job is safe, according to owner Glen Taylor. Who should know. Here is what Taylor told Sid Hartman of the Star-Tribune.
“No, no, no, he is hired,” Taylor said. “A young guy and he is going to get better as time goes on and we just have to give him that time.”
Saunders is in the first year of his contract, as is new team president Gerson Rosas, who also is in the first year of building out this roster around Karl-Anthony Towns. Minnesota traded for D'Angelo Russell at the deadline, but there is still a lot of work to do to make this even a playoff team in the West.
Saunders, who has a strong relationship with Towns, deserves the time to try and fit all the new pieces together. This bad season was about a lot of things gone wrong, and now with major roster changes it is like starting over.
“[Saunders] is excited about this change that now he has guys that can play the kind of basketball he wants,” Taylor said. “He is really a believer in the three-point shot, moving the ball fast, and getting up and down the court. He needed some players that were better three-point shooters than what we had previously.”
It’s far too early to tell how all this will play out in Minnesota, but Saunders is a good coach, relates to players and deserves a chance. Taylor is going to give it to him.