Tonight marks the end of a disappointing tenure for former Timberwolves head coach Ryan Saunders. The team announced late Sunday night that they would be relieving Saunders of his duties as head coach. NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the news.
Since early this season, Saunders has been on the hot seat, and tonight’s loss to the New York Knicks was the last straw. The Timberwolves own the worst record in the NBA, with a record of 7-24. They rank in the bottom ten in nearly every statistical category, and their star players have struggled to stay healthy through the early part of the season.
Star center Karl Anthony-Towns has played just 10 games so far this season. He missed 13 consecutive games after contracting COVID-19 on Jan. 15th. Guard D’Angelo Russell has also struggled with injuries, as he has missed a total of 12 games this season.
Saunders departs from the head coaching position after just two and a half years in charge. He ends his Timberwolves career with an overall record of 43-93. Saunders is the son of former Timberwolves head coach Flip Saunders. Flip Saunders took over at the end of the 1995-96 season. He then led the team to the playoffs in eight consecutive seasons, including a trip to the conference finals during the 2003-04 season.
The Timberwolves will hire Raptors assistant Chris Finch to replace Saunders, according to reports. Raptors head coach Nick Nurse added Finch to his staff following the departure of Nate Bjorkgen, who left Nurses’ staff to become the head coach of the Indiana Pacers. Finch was an assistant on Alvin Gentry’s staff with the New Orleans Pelicans before joining the Raptors. He will now hope to coax some success out of the team for the remainder of the season.