Ryan Saunders Starts 1st Game w/ Flip’s Favorite Play; Talks About it After

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK- JANUARY 8: Head Coach Ryan Saunders of the Minnesota Timberwolves looks on against the Oklahoma City Thunder on January 8, 2019 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)

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Ryan Saunders took over last night as head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves, after Tom Thibodeau got fired over the weekend. Saunders now walks the sidelines as the youngest coach in the NBA (one of the youngest in history), at age 32, but he isn’t new or unknown around the league.

He grew up in the NBA. It’s really all he knows. And it seems he knows everyone who is involved with the league… because he does… because his dad, the late-great Flip Saunders, knew everybody. And it shows here in the interview I’m supposed to be setting up, but have done a terrible job of, so you’ll have to wait another paragraph (or, if you watched game last night and know what happened you can just take a quick scroll right to the video).

In storymode fashion vs a division rival, the OKC Thunder, Ryan won his head coaching debut in dramatic fashion, defeating the Thunder 119-117. Nobody’s ever seen Wiggins play as hard as he did … because he likely never has played with the type of edge he had last night. And, the boxscore showed it, with Wiggins racking up 40 points and 10 rebounds.

That 0 behind the 1 in the rebound column is NOT a typo.

Now to the video(s). Ryan wasted no time in making a tribute to his father. Flip’s favorite play was called a “52-Twist” which can be run for different positions, depending on the situation. Last night, as Ryan points out to Chris Webber and Isaiah Thomas below, they ran a “5-52 Twist” which I believe was supposed to get KAT open. It clearly doesn’t work but all’s well that ends well because it allowed Wiggins to catch fire immediately.

Here is the play and then Ryan’s interview after the game:

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If you are a regular listener to KFAN and especially a long-time listener of 3-6 PM while Dan Barreiro is on the air, then you remember the “Friday Funkadelic” with Flip Saunders, while he was still alive and well. He would come on every Friday and give some of the best radio ever heard over airwaves to the Twin Cities listeners.

Well today, a new era of funkadelic begins. It’s appointment radio. You don’t say that too often anymore.

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Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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