With the NBA calendar flipping from May to June, there’s usually not that many exciting things happening with your favorite professional men’s basketball team. However, for the Minnesota Timberwolves, it was another wild week of #WojBombs and #ShamsGrenades. To recap:
- The Wolves essentially now own the rights to the NBA Trade Machine.
- Gersson Rosas might start big-game hunting much sooner than most of us thought.
- Ryan Saunders finally has his right-hand man.
While those three stories alone would be enough to fill a week’s worth of blog kahntent during the offseason, the Wolves weren’t done making headlines (or acquisitions):
Minnesota is hiring Brooklyn’s player development coach Pablo Prigioni as an assistant coach, league sources tell ESPN. Prigioni has common Rockets history with Minnesota President Gersson Rosas. He’ll focus on offensive end under coach Ryan Saunders.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 7, 2019
Less than 24 hours after hiring David Vanterpool away from the Portland Trail Blazers, Gersson Rosas struck again, this time stealing Pablo Prigioni from the Brooklyn Nets. As mentioned earlier this week, Vanterpool, the team’s new Associate Head Coach, will be playing the role of the Wolves’ “defensive coordinator,” while Prigioni will be tasked with being the team’s “offensive coordinator.” While DV’s track record with player development is a little more extensive, Prigioni only recently began his coaching career after retiring from the NBA back in 2016.
Nevertheless, Prigioni played an important role last season in the development of both Spencer Dinwiddie and D’Angelo Russell, and is well-respected from his time as a player with both the New York Knicks and Houston Rockets. More specifically, it was during his time in Houston that he formed a strong connection with Gersson Rosas, and his hiring adds to the Wolves recent emphasis on fresh faces with a diverse background.
With the core of Saunders staff now in place, I would imagine the Wolves round out the squad with a few smaller hires. The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski reported earlier this week that Kevin Burleson (brother of Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Nate Burleson) is also expected to join the staff in a player development role.
As if all of that wasn’t enough, Coach Saunders had one final acquisition this week, arguably the biggest and most important of the bunch:
WE'VE ALREADY MADE AN OFFSEASON ADDITION— Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) June 6, 2019
Starting at point guard, born at 2:47AM on June 6, 20 inches long and weighing 6 lbs. 11 oz...
Lucas Philip Saunders! pic.twitter.com/S3a8lSqae6
On behalf of the entire Canis crew, I’d like to congratulate Ryan and his wife on the birth of their son Lucas Philip Saunders. Welcome to Minnesota, Lil’ Suits!
We’re less than two weeks away from the NBA Draft, and some very interesting faces are scheduled to stroll through Mayo Square over the next few days:
This is interesting: told that Coby White is here today for a workout w/ the #Twolves. Hard for me to see him getting to 11. I love him, by the way. He's not in the group workout that is 6 guys with Coffey, Tucker, Wilkes, 3 others. White is a 1x0 workout. pic.twitter.com/wLgMbFsxOZ— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) June 7, 2019
Interesting, Part II: Doumbouya will visit Minnesota and the #Twolves early next week. @NBADraftWass notes that Doumbouya will have a Pro Day tomorrow. He's been stationed in Dallas. pic.twitter.com/nJbHcyySx3— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) June 7, 2019
As Doogie referenced above, neither Coby White nor Sekou Doumbouya are expected to last to pick #11, which could add fuel to the fire that Rosas & Co. are prepared to move up in the draft to get the guy they want. Or, it could suggest that both players have received intel that they may not be a lock to go as high as they once thought, thus resulting in them expanding the list of team’s they are willing to work out for. Either way, it’s going to be a fairly chaotic couple of weeks as more and more rumors fly around, so be sure to check back for updates on player workouts, the latest #WojBombs, and an official announcement on who Gersson Rosas selects as the Wolves Special Teams coach.
Enjoy the weekend!