January 6, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards head coach Flip Saunders gestures from the sidelines against the New York Knicks in the second half at Verizon Center. The Knicks won 99-96. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Flip Saunders Work on Wolves Restructuring Begins

The first Minnesota Timberwolves personnel adjustments made by Flip Saunders were made in the scouting department. Moving on from the man credited with the Euro-centric flavor recently acquired by the Wolves and Brandon Roy favor-hires is the kind move that could either mark a departure from cronyism (unlikely) in favor of research-based, number-crunching, modern scouting techniques that Saunders has paid lip service to, but would be given the chance to prove by whatever moves to fill the now vacant regional and international scouting roles are taken.

As nice a story as European players Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pekovic, Andrei Kirilenko and Alexey Shved have been, the likelihood any of them, save Shved, wouldn’t have been on the Wolves’ radar regardless of their international scouting coordinator is debatable. As Rubio was a sensation, Pekovic was on everybody’s Euro-stash radar and AK is AK.

And I quote:

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Flip Saunders has started the restructuring expected when he took over as Minnesota Timberwolves president last week.

Saunders fired international scouting coordinator Pete Philo, regional scout Curtis Crawford and Will Conroy on Tuesday. The moves were made as Saunders clears room to get a staff together for next month’s draft.

Philo was instrumental in ushering in a new focus on foreign players. He helped land point guard Ricky Rubio, guard Alexey Shved and put the Timberwolves at the forefront of that growing trend. He also played a key role on draft night.

Crawford is a close friend of Brandon Roy’s and was moved into a scouting position after he did not make the team last training camp.

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Tags: Alexey Shved Andrei Kirilenko Brandon Roy Flip Saunders Minnesota Timberwolves Nikola Pekovic Off Season Moves Personnel Ricky Rubio Scouting

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