Chris Finch and his All-Star coaching staff reset the Timberwolves winning culture

Minnesota Timberwolves coaching staff
Minnesota Timberwolves coaching staff / Tim Heitman/GettyImages

Upon clinching the best record in the conference ahead of the All-Star break, Chris Finch and the Minnesota coaching staff will represent Team West this All-Star weekend in Indianapolis. While it may not be a Coach of the Year award, it's a great honor highlighting Finch and the Wolves staff's impact on an impressive rebuild.

The Wolves started the 2020-2021 season 7-24. Finch took the challenge head-on, earning the franchise's respect and finishing the year with a 16-25 record. The following year, Finch and his staff implemented a more fast-paced style of offense that helped the Wolves lead the league in points per game for the 2021-2022 season.

With one of the youngest rosters in the NBA, the Timberwolves doubled their win total from a year ago and earned a spot in the playoffs after a culture-shift win against the Clippers in the play-in tournament.

The 2022-2023 season was a crazy up-and-down roller coaster. Anthony Edwards became a superstar, but Karl Anthony-Towns missed over half the season nursing an Achilles strain. The front office added great players to form a contending roster. However, tempers flared, chemistry fell apart right before the playoffs, and the Wolves were first-round exits to eventual champion Denver Nuggets.

This year, the team has had a whole new level of focus, starting with Finch. He has a very calm demeanor about himself that provides a comforting influence over the team. But he also knows how to hold everyone accountable, from the star player to the end of the bench, helping everyone shine in their roles to succeed as a team. Edwards has continuously praised Coach Finch and his leadership throughout the year.

Timberwolves Broadcast analyst Jim Peterson sat down with Phil Mackey and Kyle Theige on their 'Flagrant Howls' podcast with Skor North, where they highlighted some of the intangibles that have made Finch so successful with the Wolves. Their main compliment was his authenticity with his assistants, players, and even the media. If there's a problem, he will address it and work endlessly with his staff to solve it.

Peterson said coach Finch is, "easily the best coach Minnesota has ever had"; a lot of this can be credited to how he can build relationships with everyone from any demographic. Because of how real he is, it's easy for people to be themselves around Finch. He doesn't handcuff his assistants with what they can say to the media or try to influence their voices with his own. He's allowed his staff to form their own coaching identities to find new perspectives on how to help the team succeed best.

Elston Turner is a veteran coach in his third season as an assistant for the Timberwolves. Turner has specialized in defense schemes throughout his coaching career, implementing a fast-paced help-and-recover style of defending. The Wolves rank first in the league in defensive rating thanks to Turner's intense defensive mindset he's influenced over the team.

Micah Nori is another experienced assistant coach for the Timberwolves. Joining the Wolves with Chris Finch in 2021, Nori has made quite an impression on the organization. His Bally Sports interviews between quarters have become must-see entertainment. Nori provides a personality and sense of humor for the team, bringing togetherness within the locker room.

Pablo Prigioni is an experienced NBA veteran who has been a part of the Wolves coaching staff since 2019. As the oldest rookie to ever debut in the NBA, Prigioni's experience as a role player has contributed immensely to the development of the Timberwolves' bench. Seeing guys like Naz Reid star as a sixth man and Nickeil Alexander-Walker come into his own as a reserve has been crucial to this season's success and a testament to Prigioni's impact on the team.

Joe Boylan also joined the Wolves when Finch was brought in 2021. Boylan serves a vital role as director of player development, overseeing the process of helping all players reach their potential. Along with physical growth, coach Boylan prioritizes the mental development of his players. Focusing on psychology and mindfulness when training has helped the Wolves maintain their poise in times of adversity throughout this season.

Kevin Hanson also serves alongside Boylan as a director of player development for the Wolves. Coming from New Orleans, where he played a huge part in the development of Anthony Davis, Hanson was brought in to help round out Minnesota's bigs. We've seen vast improvements to Towns' and Reid's perimeter game, while Gobert's footwork and touch around the rim have been the best we've seen in the Frenchmen's career. All much credited to Hanson's training.

The newest member of the Wolves coaching staff is Corliss Williamson. Nicknamed "Big Nasty" from his playing days, Williamson brings a great swagger to the locker room. His rough and tough attitude provides a rugged mindset for a Wolves team that prides itself on hustle and effort.

Coach Finch has filled his staff with great assistants who offer expertise in needed areas of the Wolves' game plan for their roster. This has allowed Finchy to step away from the Xs and Os and focus more on building a winning culture within the Timberwolves organization. Since taking over head coaching duties in 2021, Finch has coached the Wolves to a 143-117 record, establishing himself as the highest winning percentage coach in franchise history in just three seasons.

Finch is doing something more significant than just winning basketball games; he's influencing young men to restore hope in a small market city that has yet to be this excited about any major sports team during Minnesota's 32-year championship drought. Trophies may measure winning but can't quantify a lasting culture that benefits a city for years ahead.