Lost in the sauce of last week’s two notable free agent transactions (re-signing both Jarred Vanderbilt and Jordan McLaughlin) was news about who will be in charge taking over the Iowa Wolves.
On Tuesday, the Minnesota Timberwolves named Jeff Newton as Head Coach of the Iowa Wolves, the team’s G League affiliate. As you may remember, Newton spent the last two seasons as the offensive associate/player development coach for the Timberwolves.
For those of you who may not be familiar with who Jeff Newton is, he was also the replacement coach for the Timberwolves Summer League team in August after Joseph Blair abruptly left for a similar position with the Washington Wizards.
Earlier today the Wolves announced that Jeff Newton will coach the Iowa G League team. Newton was thrust into duty right before Summer League started and received great reviews from players and coaches.— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) September 8, 2021
As Jon notes above, Newton received rave reviews from both the players and coaches for how he handled everything in Las Vegas, and anyone who watched the games could tell that he had a natural feel for the game and really connected with the players on the Summer League roster.
In a press release from the team, Chris Finch echoed these sentiments about Newton’s strong performance in the desert:
“I am proud to see the progression Jeff has made in his role throughout this summer, especially with the development he made with our Summer League roster,” said Timberwolves Head Coach Chris Finch. “Jeff has proven in his daily work with the Timberwolves that he is prepared and deserves this next step in his career. His coaching philosophies align with what we are building here in Minnesota and his groundwork will serve as a great foundation for our two-way players and those in Iowa making the transition to Minnesota throughout the season. I believe in his ability to encourage our players to improve based on his passion for the game and his dedication every step of the way. We are excited about him leading our program down in Iowa and to continue supporting his professional advancement and success.”
As mentioned above, Newton showcased his head coaching acumen as he took the helm of the 2021 Timberwolves Summer League team in Las Vegas, leading the group to a 4-1 finish. Prior to joining the Wolves, Newton served as an assistant video coordinator for the Sacramento Kings for three seasons. Prior to that, he was with the Houston Rockets for three seasons, spending one year each as a personnel scout, assistant video coordinator and basketball operations intern. Newton got his start in the NBA as a basketball operations intern with the then Charlotte Bobcats. A native of Barrington, Rhode Island, Newton graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a degree in Sports Management.
The Iowa Wolves have been a key component of the Timberwolves’ overall developmental program, with players like Naz Reid and Jaylen Nowell getting important reps with the G-League affiliate. Newton will now attempt to fill the shoes of Sam Newman-Beck, who also showed strong coaching skills during his two years down in Des Moines before being let go earlier this summer.