The Minnesota Timberwolves are perhaps the worst sports organization in America. That’s barely an exaggeration. Their incompetence over the years is laughable, so it only makes sense that this midseason coaching change would be a disaster too.
But, that doesn’t mean it was.
When Ryan Saunders was fired and replaced by a 51 year old white man, criticism should’ve been forecast. The NFL has the “Rooney Rule” just to avoid situations like this, where there might be a less than diverse hiring process.
On the surface
Why not give David Vanterpool a chance? He’s certainly earned it and the standard mid-season firing/hiring process would normally elevate a qualified assistant, to interim head coach for the remainder of this season. Nobody’s been promoted to head coach off another team’s bench since 2009 and that was a much different situation.
So yes, on the surface it’s easy to see why people were upset with how the Chris Finch hiring process went down.
How the hell do you not hire David Vanterpool and he’s right there on the bench… and has been in front office SUCCESSFULLY and on the front of a bench of a winning team SUCCESSFULLY (7 years) … and also has played a major role in the development of a dominant backcourt smdh!— Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) February 22, 2021
Someone should tell him that might not be the best move.
Last night the Timberwolves played a game, fired their head coach, and then hired a new coach all in one evening, without giving their lead assistant @DavidVanterpool even a shot at the job. Here's why players like @Dame_Lillard & @CJMcCollum are so upset about that: pic.twitter.com/TnfPpIIGbB— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) February 22, 2021
But, the Timberwolves did nothing wrong when they hired Chris Finch, beyond forcing an awkward “The Bachelor” style private flight home from New York, for Ryan Saunders.
Finch was probably Rosas’ guy the first time around.
Chris Finch isn’t just the next random white assistant who Gerrson Rosas pulled out of his hat of prejudice. This has been in motion since Rosas
was forced decided to hire Ryan Saunders as “permanent” head coach in 2019.
Finch was interviewed back then and finished runner-up to Saunders. Gersson Rosas can sell us whatever he wants about the previous hiring process but his quick trigger on Finch gives away Taylor’s involvement in the Saunders hiring back then. Ryan wasn’t Gerss’ guy, he was Glen’s guy. Gerss’ guy is Chris Finch and that’s clearly who he wanted all along.
Let’s talk David Vanterpool
David Vanterpool was brought in when Ryan Saunders was hired, to be the main coach on defense. I understand much of the Wolves defensive flaws are on the individual players. They’re bad at defense and there might not be a coach out there who can help.
But with that said, it’s tough to call Vanterpool a defensive mastermind given the numbers the Wolves have put up in his time here. In 2019-20 the Wolves had the 10th worst defensive rating and this year, with a new roster, the Wolves are the 9th worst. It’s entirely possible that Rosas has lost faith in Vanterpool, as a head coach. Maybe he never had it. We’ll never know.
At the end of the day, Saunders needed to be fired and if Rosas was going to hire Finch eventually, why waste half a season with Vanterpool as HC? The Wolves are a disaster and Rosas’ seat is getting warm. If he’s going to go down with this ship, he should get to hand pick his captain.
I get it, but Rosas has wanted Finch to be his coach for quite a long time. He finally got permission from Glen to do it, so he did.— Cooper (@CoopCarlson) February 24, 2021
Sure, Vanterpool is right there, but why waste another half season if Rosas knows who he truly wants? https://t.co/Q25BRbi6Uz
Finch and Rosas go way back
The main reason Rosas was able to bring Finch in midseason was because of their lengthy history. The two of them started together way back in 2010, coaching the D-League Rio Grande Valley Vipers to a title. They then worked together in Houston and are now reunited in Minnesota. It’s likely that Rosas has always seen Finch as his future coach, should he ever run a team.
I appreciate that Gersson Rosas knows what he wants. Why give an interim false hope or allow time for your guy to get away? Timberwolves fans have waited a long time for this organization to be relevant again and this duo gives them a good chance.
NBA fishing for team to “make example of”
Overall it just seems like the NBA, and those around it, were looking for something like this to happen so they could bring attention to the lack of minority coaches in their league. The Timberwolves aren’t against bringing in a minority coach. Rosas is Latino and preaches diversity as much as anyone. Many members of the staff are minority, including his right hand man Sachin Gupta and the aforementioned Vanterpool.
The NBA certainly needs more minority coaches, but attacking the Minnesota Timberwolves front office of all teams, just doesn’t make sense and holds no weight.
Cooper Carlson | Minnesota Sports Fan