Minnesota Timberwolves Roundup: Coaching staff, ownership effect on draft

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) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves have a coaching staff change, plus, what impact does a pending sale of the team have on the draft?

The Minnesota Timberwolves have replaced a recently-departed assistant coach with a former Philadelphia assistant.

Additionally, what impact does the pending sale of the team have on how the Wolves utilize the No. 1 pick in the upcoming draft?

Minnesota Timberwolves Roundup: A change on the coaching staff

The Minnesota Timberwolves have an impressive coaching staff, with highly-regarded associate had coach and defensive coordinator David Vanterpool and a rising star at offensive coordinator in Pablo Prigioni.

Now, they’ve apparently made a change at the end of the bench, back-filling a vacant role with another young assistant.

Last month, former player development coach Brian Randle left the Wolves to join the Phoenix Suns. Randle had been hired by Tom Thibodeau prior to the 2018-19 season and remained on Ryan Saunders’ staff last year.

Minnesota has reportedly hired a former Philadelphia 76ers assistant to fill his spot.

Joseph Blair became a Sixers assistant prior to last season after leading the Rio Grande Valley Vipers to a G League championship in 2018-19.

After Philadelphia recently hired Doc Rivers to be their new head coach, many of the jobs on the Sixers bench are being flipped to new hires, allowing members of former Sixers coach Brett Brown’s staff to seek new employment opportunities.

Blair was brought on to coordinate the Sixers’ offense last season. While the Sixers went 43-30 and made the playoffs, they were swept in the first round by Boston and the season was seen as a massive disappointment across the board.

The 76ers ranked No. 13 in offensive rating and No. 20 in points per game. They were No. 22 in 3-point attempts per game but No. 9 in 3-point percentage as a team.

Much of the Sixers’ issues were due to roster construction, although new additions Josh Richardson and Al Horford had poor years and were awkward fits with incumbent stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.

Blair’s history with Rio Grande is a connection with Gersson Rosas, who was in Houston when Blair was hired to run the Vipers in 2018.

Minnesota Timberwolves Roundup: Does ownership situation impact the draft?

The Minnesota Timberwolves franchise has been officially on the market for more than three months, and there hasn’t been much news on that front at all in recent weeks.

The 2020 NBA Draft is now only a month away, and there’s some thought that the ownership situation may have an impact on what the Wolves ultimately do with the No. 1 pick.

ESPN’s Jonathan Givony noted as much in a piece for ESPN Plus (membership required), suggesting that even having an idea of what the Wolves’ plans are is difficult with the ownership situation in flux.

It’s fair to speculate that current owner Glen Taylor wouldn’t allow any pending sale to have too serious of an impact on what happens with the No. 1 pick. The biggest question would be in regards to any potential major trade that might require the Wolves to take on a third max or near-max salary in any deal for a current NBA player that may move the needle but also take the team well into the luxury tax.

Next. Latest mock drafts agree on Wolves' direction in draft. dark

With only a few weeks until the draft and free agency following shortly thereafter, it would certainly be a positive thing to have clarity on the ownership situation before getting too deep into the offseason.