Get out and go crazy, Timberwolves fans. Tom Thibodeau is about to be the new head coach of the team.
Reports started coming in right before 12:00 p.m. Central Time on Wednesday that the Wolves were in “serious talks” with the former Timberwolves assistant to become President of Basketball Operations and head coach. In addition, it was reported that Scott Layden, the assistant general manager of the San Antonio Spurs, was going to join Thibodeau in Minnesota as the new general manager.
As of right now, both sides seem to be moving quickly to come to a deal.
No need to pinch yourself; this is, in fact, real life. The Wolves are about to get a top-five coach in the league as well as someone from the Spurs front office to run this team. The prospect of the Timberwolves being a well-run organization is materializing right before our very eyes.
For all the criticism fans have had about Glen Taylor only hiring people within his “country club” and being passive about deals, I think this tweet from Marc Stein sums up the general feeling with how well Taylor approached this:
On the coaching side, Thibs is one of the very best defensive minds in the game. While in Chicago, his teams ranked first or second in three out of his five years there. With great defenders already on the roster in Ricky Rubio, Andrew Wiggins, and Karl-Anthony Towns, there is no reason to believe that won’t continue.
On the flip side, the only time one of his teams finished better than 11th in offensive rating was in 2011-12. He should hopefully be able to design better offenses around Rubio, Wiggins, Towns, and Zach LaVine, but that will remain to be seen.
Also, there’s this elephant in the room:
The biggest knock on Thibodeau has been his handling of players. Luol Deng and Jimmy Butler have been vocal about how tough Thibodeau was on them during their time in Chicago, and the injury-plagued rosters that Thibs commandeered year after year is a bit concerning.
Only time will tell, but here’s hoping that Thibs learns from his time in Chicago and doesn’t quite push these young guys as hard.
Even with those concerns, the Wolves went out and got the best coach on the market. Thibs will instantly put the Wolves into contention for one of the last playoff slots in the Western Conference. The contract has not officially been signed yet, but all indications point to the deal happening soon.
In the meantime, Wolves fans:
Stay tuned to Dunking With Wolves as we navigate the finalization of this deal. We’ll have confirmation when it’s done, as well as quick reaction and analysis for what Thibodeau’s apparent hiring will mean for the current roster and the organization moving forward.
We’ll also begin to ramp up the draft coverage as we near the lottery in May and the draft towards the end of June.