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Timberwolves’ Derrick Rose says Ryan Saunders emphasizing playing at faster pace

Derrick Rose

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Derrick Rose says that new head coach Ryan Saunders is emphasizing playing at a faster pace, according to Chris Hine of the Star Tribune.

The Timberwolves were exactly middle of the pack in possessions per game this season under Tom Thibodeau, averaging 104.2 possessions a night, good for 16th in the league.

Now, to be fair to the Wolves, there are plenty of contending teams lower than them in terms of pace, but with an athletic team featuring a speedy Rose and young players such as Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, it makes sense to want to push the ball a bit more.

Thibodeau was fired on Sunday, marking the end of a two and a half year stint as both head coach and team president. Over that time, Thibodeau posted a record of 97-107, leading Minnesota to a 47-win campaign last season that resulted in its first playoff appearance since 2004.

There was a time when Thibodeau was considered one of the best coaches in the league, but his style is beginning to phase out of the league due to the evolution of the game over the last several years.

Clearly, Saunders is trying to take a more modest approach in his coaching strategy, and increasing the tempo should certainly help considering how mediocre the Timberwolves are defensively. The idea is simple: more possessions, more points.

Minnesota currently owns a record of 19-21, most recently routing the injury-riddled Los Angeles Lakers by 22 points on Sunday. The Timberwolves will now head on the road Tuesday to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder.