Flip Saunders built this year’s Timberwolves in an unusual way, with a seasoned veteran for every position group, notes Lee Jenkins of SI.com. Big man tutor Kevin Garnett, mentor wing player Tayshaun Prince and experienced point guard Andre Miller all signed contracts during the offseason before the late Saunders had to leave the job because of his ailing health. Now, they’re serving as guides through a difficult time as the team mourns Saunders’ death. Minnesota opened the season Wednesday with a one-point win over the Lakers.
“Coach brought us all here for a reason,” coach Sam Mitchell said, according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports. “And he would expect nothing less than us coming out and being focused and doing the very best job.”
See more from around the Northwest Division:
- New coach Michael Malone wants to win, but he acknowledges that so much of this season for the Nuggets is about the education of No. 7 overall pick Emmanuel Mudiay, as Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post relays. “If we’re getting our butts kicked, I’m not going to just sit there and say: ‘Well, this is good for Emmanuel’s development,'” Malone said. “But, overall, I want to be able to say at the end of Year 1 that we gave Emmanuel every chance to succeed and learn going into Year 2, because that’s only going to accelerate the growth of this roster and this organization.”
- Thunder camp cut Julyan Stone has signed with Gaziantep of Turkey, the team announced (translation via Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia).
- The Jazz named Linda Luchetti the team’s vice president of basketball operations this week, a position that will have her reporting directly to GM Dennis Lindsey, the team announced. The move makes her one of the most highly ranking female basketball executives in the league, though her responsibilities will be focused on the business side of the team, according to The Associated Press.