3. A Fresh Start
While it may sound entirely ambiguous, the idea of A Fresh Start is a real thing.
Consider the toxic environment swirling around the Butler debacle of the fall, that spilled into the third and fourth weeks of the regular season. The awkwardness was palpable, and it led to the eventual exit of Thibodeau not even two months later.
While general manager Scott Layden remains in place, it would be a surprise to see Thibodeau’s hand-picked GM remain into the summer and fall.
Ryan Saunders? It’s anyone’s guess, but as long as the team battles, doesn’t implode, and wins something close to 40 games this year, it’s a safe bet that he’s back.
There’s no reason to think that the players don’t love Saunders. While his 11-14 record is no better than what the team mustered under the iron fist of Thibodeau, it’s impossible to truly evaluate one’s coaching chops when dealt a mid-season, injury-riddled hand.
Covington has yet to play in a game that Saunders has coached, and Jones has missed the majority of Saunders-coached games as well. Teague and Rose have both missed time, and the backcourt has had zero consistency.
Also, consider how difficult it would be for Saunders to truly implement a different system on either end of the floor in the midst of the season. We just don’t know what a Saunders training camp and start to the season would look like. And the level at which the players seem to appreciate Saunders is great enough that it would be fair to give him a shot at coaching the team come fall.
But assuming Layden is replaced, the team will have a fresh, Butler and Thibs-less start this fall, regardless of if the permanent head coach is Saunders or Outside Hire. And, outside of the constant churn of coaches that Towns, Wiggins, Jones, and others have experienced over the past several years, that’s a good thing.
See? It’s not all doom and gloom. Towns and his supporting cast are about to win somewhere between 36 and 40 games while undergoing unbelievable turmoil in the coaching ranks and in the training room.
There’s hope on the horizon, Wolves fans, and Karl-Anthony Towns will lead this team back to the playoffs in 2020.