The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced its front bench coaching staff, naming Joseph Blair, Micah Nori and Pablo Prigioni as assistant coaches.
“Chris and I are excited to have Micah join our coaching staff in addition to giving new responsibilities to Joseph and Pablo. With staff development at the forefront, we look forward to supporting Joseph and Pablo as they continue to progress in their new roles, as well as provide guidance for Micah as he steps into a new coaching chapter,” said Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas. “We had a diligent process to evaluate our front bench needs and determined the coaching styles, philosophies and ideologies that best complement Head Coach Chris Finch and the vision we see for the future of the Timberwolves. We’re confident that with Chris at the helm and with the support of the assistant coaches, we have a group in place that will maximize our top players’ potential both on and off the court and also untap our young talent.”
For those maybe unaware, Blair spent the past season with the Timberwolves after serving as an assistant coach with the Philadelphia 76ers for the 2019-20 season. Prior to the 76ers, Blair spent four seasons with the Houston Rockets G League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, one of which as head coach (2018-19). Blair led the team to the 2019 G League title over the Long Island Nets after amassing a 34-16 overall record. In 2015, he originally joined the Rockets organization as an assistant with Rio Grande Valley. He also spent two seasons as an assistant at his alma mater, the University of Arizona.
The majority of Wolves trades/signings since Rosas took over have a connection to a Rosas coach hiring— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) June 25, 2021
Davis: DV + Prigioni
Napier: DV + Prigioni
As for Nori — the new name in the fold here — he joins Minnesota after spending three seasons as an assistant coach with the Detroit Pistons. Prior to his time in Detroit, he spent three seasons with the Denver Nuggets. A 23-year veteran of the NBA, Nori also spent two seasons as an assistant coach with the Sacramento Kings. He entered the NBA in 1998, spending 15 seasons with the Toronto Raptors organization including four years as an assistant coach. Before being named assistant coach, Nori held roles of director of NBA scouting, an advance scout and an assistant to the coaching staff with the Raptors. The Middleton, Ohio native was a four-year starter and captain of Indiana’s 1996 Big Ten Championship baseball team. He also holds a master’s degree in Sports Organization from Miami (OH) University.
Last but not least — Pablo Prigioni. The former NBA point guard was named an assistant coach for the Timberwolves during the summer of 2019, becoming the team’s offensive coordinator. He also led the club to the championship game of the 2019 NBA Las Vegas Summer League. Prigioni spent the 2018-19 season as an assistant coach with the Brooklyn Nets. Prior to the Nets, he enjoyed a 20-year playing career that featured stops both overseas and in the NBA.
As Dane mentioned above, while nothing is set in stone, a majority of the Wolves’ player transactions during the Rosas regime have also had a connection (in one way or another) to the coaches on staff in Minnesota. Does that mean Ben Simmons will be looking for a modest three-bedroom in the suburbs? Not exactly, but it also adds a little more smoke to an already growing fire.
Either way, this newest piece of information is the latest domino to fall as it pertains to the Timberwolves’ offseason. With the NBA Lottery now behind them and the assistant coaches hand picked, Gersson Rosas and his crew will pivot quickly to NBA Draft prep (not having a pick doesn’t mean the Wolves won’t walk out of the draft with a rookie or two), and then free agency, which is scheduled to start on August 3, 2021.