Minnesota Timberwolves Roundup: Rosas on Ryan Saunders, Malik Beasley

Head coach Ryan Saunders of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Head coach Ryan Saunders of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

Minnesota Timberwolves boss Gersson Rosas spoke on several topics, including head coach Ryan Saunders and arrested guard Malik Beasley.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are wrapping up their In-Market Bubble, and president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas spoke to the media on a variety of topics.

First, on his head coach, Ryan Saunders, who was on the frontlines of a tumultuous season in Minnesota, through no fault of his own.

Rosas also spoke about the team’s progression overall, as well as offered support for Malik Beasley, who was arrested last weekend and will be a restricted free agent this offseason.

Minnesota Timberwolves Roundup: Gersson Rosas on Ryan Saunders

Ryan Saunders was named the Wolves interim head coach following Tom Thibodeau’s firing in January of 2019. It was widely assumed that Rosas, who was hired to run the basketball operations department that May, would hand-pick his own coach to spark a rebuild.

Indeed, Rosas opened a head coaching search that included several interviews with outside candidates. But some combination of Saunders’ track record as a player-friendly assistant and his basketball acumen convinced Rosas to hire him to the permanent job. (There’s no doubt that his close relationship with incumbent superstar Karl-Anthony Towns certainly played in Saunders’ favor, as well.)

The Wolves started last year with a 10-8 record, but then spiraled downward in dizzying fashion. Much of it was due to Towns’ frequent injury-induced absence, and as Rosas began making trades to re-shape the roster, the Wolves kept losing.

While it’s extremely hard to truly evaluate Saunders based on a pair of partial seasons, there has been a bit of clamoring for the team to explore other options.

But Rosas offered somewhat of a vote of confidence for Saunders this week in an interview with The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski (subscription required), noting that he’s been handed plenty of challenges over his first 17 months on the job.

Krawczynski makes sure to point out that at some point soon — surely coming after the Wolves either draft a highly-touted prospect at No. 1 in this year’s draft or after potentially trading it for an established veteran — Saunders will be judged on his winning percentage.

Minnesota Timberwolves Roundup: Rosas and Saunders on Wolves at camp

Both Rosas and Saunders spoke about how important the In-Market Bubble has been for the Wolves and the type of progress that is being made.

The Wolves held their final of three scrimmages on the Target Center floor, and also enjoyed plenty of team outings to encourage chemistry and bonding among the (primarily young) players in attendance.

Even if a few of the veterans weren’t present for the bulk of the camp, it was still no doubt beneficial to get the likes of Jarrett Culver, Josh Okogie, Jordan McLaughlin, Naz Reid, and Jake Layman on the court together to evaluate their progress both individually and as a unit.

Minnesota Timberwolves Roundup: Rosas offers support for Malik Beasley

Rosas spoke about Malik Beasley, who was arrested last weekend on a pair of charges.

Beasley, of course, is about to become a restricted free agent. He was present, along with Towns and D’Angelo Russell, for the individual workout portion of the Wolves’ camp but was not in the bubble when group workouts began last week.

Rosas told Chris Hine of the Star Tribune that he still wants to re-sign Beasley.

"“He’s family. We’re going to support him,” Rosas said. “We’re going to do the best that we can. But he’s got some things he’s got to take care of. The legal process has some things that have to be processed and we’ll go from there, but we’re a family and we work through things together.”"

Kudos to Rosas for his unwavering support of his players. Remember, this is a player who is about to no longer be under contract with the team and had opted not to participate in the group workout portion of the camp.

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The legal charges appear to be somewhat serious, but there also seems to be a belief that there is more information to come to light that may allow Beasley to got through the free agency process and be on the floor when training camp finally gets underway for the 2021 season.