Minnesota Timberwolves announce assistant coaches for 2021-22

Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch has more depth to play with this season. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch has more depth to play with this season. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves have officially announced their lead assistant coaches for the 2021-22 season.

In addition to hiring a new face to the bench at Target Center, head coach Chris Finch will be retaining a pair of assistants from Ryan Saunders’ staff while enhancing their duties and responsibilities.

Minnesota Timberwolves retain, promote Pablo Prigioni and Joseph Blair

Pablo Prigioni joined the Wolves staff back in the summer of 2019. He assumed offensive coordinator duties under then-head coach Saunders and has been helming the unit since that time, including through the change to Finch in February 2021.

Prigioni was the head coach of the Wolves’ Las Vegas Summer League entry in 2019, leading the team to the tournament’s championship game.

While the Wolves’ press release didn’t clarify whether or not Prigioni will retain the role of offensive coordinator, it did include a quote from President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas that stated that both Prigioni and Joseph Blair would be receiving “new responsibilities” and would “continue to progress in their new roles”.

The release also referred to the trio as the “front bench coaching staff”.

Blair was on the Wolves’ staff for the first time in 2020-21, joining the team after a season on Brett Brown’s bench in Philadelphia in 2019-20. Prior to that, Blair was the head coach of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the Houston Rockets’ G League affiliate.

The Wolves-related ties run deep for both men, of course. Prigioni played for the Rockets when Rosas was in the front office and then was an assistant in Brooklyn while D’Angelo Russell played for the Nets and current Wolves assistant general manager Gianluca Pascucci was in the front office.

Minnesota Timberwolves officially hire Micah Nori as assistant coach

Micah Nori was most recently an assistant for the Detroit Pistons for the last three seasons but has clear ties to Finch, having worked alongside the Wolves head coach as assistants on Mike Malone’s staff in Denver for a season.

The possibility of Nori joining the Wolves staff was first raised a couple of weeks ago by SKOR North’s Darren Wolfson.

As noted at the time, the track record is encouraging. Nori has been on Malone’s staff twice and spent the last three years with Dwane Casey. Both have been above-average coaches in the league for a long time, and spending a year with Finch in Denver is a plus as well.

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We don’t yet know what the back row of coaches on the bench will look like, or if the Wolves will officially name a defensive coordinator or associate head coach, both roles held by David Vanterpool over the past two seasons.