Wolves Notes: Finch, Defense, Towns, Vanterpool

The Timberwolves hired Chris Finch as their new head coach in the hopes of improving an offense that ranked 28th in the NBA under Ryan Saunders, and while the results on that front were promising in Finch’s debut on Tuesday, Minnesota also allowed a season-high 139 points in a blowout loss to Milwaukee, as Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic writes.

Acknowledging that he has a reputation as more of an offensive-minded coach, Finch stressed on Tuesday that the Wolves’ defense has to improve, noting that he’s hoping to streamline the system and implement “simple, highly executable coverages” for the team’s young roster.

“We don’t want them overthinking anything out there where there’s a lag time in their performance and reaction. But yeah, we’re all about the defense,” Finch said, according to Krawczynski. “I’m known for the offensive side of the ball, but the reality is I’m a defense-first guy because that creates the best offense. You still have to play defense in this league to win.”

Here’s more on the Wolves:

  • After being hired, Finch told Wolves center Karl-Anthony Towns that he’s committed to running the team’s offense through him going forward, according to Chris Hine and Kent Youngblood of The Star Tribune. “He should be at the center of everything,” Finch said of Towns, per Krawczynski. That approach was evident on Tuesday, as Towns matched a season high with 19 shot attempts and established a new career-high with 11 assists.
  • While Towns expressed a hope that more “Black and minority coaches” – including Wolves assistant David Vanterpool – will get head coaching opportunities going forward, he pledged to support Finch and once again reiterated his commitment to the franchise, as Hine writes in a separate story for The Star Tribune. “I’m a very loyal guy, to a fault. I’ve said it before, I would love to finish my career here in Minnesota,” Towns told reporters. “I want to build something great here. I want to build a legacy in Minnesota.”
  • When Wolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas discussed the hiring of Finch, he explained that the veteran assistant was a finalist when the team conducted a brief search and ultimately decided to retain Ryan Saunders in 2019, which was one reason why he was comfortable bringing him in midseason without a full-fledged search this time around. “When we got that opportunity we were very aggressive with it because he’s a candidate that we have experience with through our last process and the guy we identified as a target for us,” Rosas said (link via Hine).
  • Ricky Rubio admitted he’ll miss Saunders and called the timing of Finch’s full-time hiring “a little weird,” but said he has been impressed by the new coach’s offensive mind so far (link via Hine). Malik Beasley, who played for Denver during the one season that Finch was a Nuggets assistant, had nothing but praise for him as well, calling Finch a “great guy” and predicting that the Wolves are “going to do some big things.”
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11 thoughts on “Wolves Notes: Finch, Defense, Towns, Vanterpool

  1. Sillivan

    All Wolves are enjoying scoring. They don’t have defensive talents
    Without making great trade, Wolves ceiling is 12th seed in West next two seasons
    Trade players like Butler, Covington and Wiggins

    Grizzlies and Pelicans have better future assets

  2. Black Ace57

    Coaching won’t matter much when it comes to improving defense. The team just doesn’t have the players with the skill.

    • Sillivan

      Big thing is “suffering” not championship

      I don’t like this
      The worst teams Wolves and Rockets trade away their own 2021 first round picks
      You just don’t tank like that

    • I Beg To Differ

      Given how well Naz Reid played in his absence.

      Wolves should consider trading KAT and just start amassing draft picks to build for the future.

      • mnsportsfan

        Thing is, we’ve been building for the future darn near every year we have been a franchise.

        • fishy 9 dogs

          Right? I’m done building for the distant future. We finally have multiple pieces that could work well once they have some time to mesh. A lot of potential here and we just need continuity. I like that we hired Finch straight away instead of having an interim. More time for these guys to work together.

  3. El Don

    KAT was outrageously good yesterday, that is how this team will do well, when KAT shoots around 20 times a game & has the ball all the time, a bit a la Jokic, he ain’t as good a passer (only Luka is as good a passer as Jokic in the league anyway) but boy he is gonna rule the league as a point-center!!!

  4. KnickerbockerAl

    He’s not Jokic and Jokic doesn’t have the ball all the time. No offense today should run thru one player. Bron gm should tell us all that. It’s a team gm and you run it thru your best players. KAT is a lot like Jokic, I agree a better shooter imo. But he needs to defend better. Minny as a team needs to defend better. Losing Russell hurts but this is why Rubio is here. This team is underachieving imo. It’s time to man up in Minny. Edwards has to show why he was #1 pick. Rubio a bigger ast guy should just run team n get everyone involved. KAT is big part of offense he will always get his. They need other guys to step up. But especially, they all need to step up on D side.

  5. mcmillankmm

    I feel like Towns not performing to expectations is what’s resulted in all of the coaches getting fired over the years

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