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Timberwolves’ Ryan Saunders expected to progress from interim to official head coach

Timberwolves, Ryan Saunders

Ryan Saunders, who was named interim head coach after the Minnesota Timberwolves parted ways with Tom Thibodeau, is expected to become the team’s official head coach.

Timberwolves majority owner Glen Taylor has already implemented changes in the organization following a relatively tumultuous year. To recall, the regular season saw the end of the Jimmy Butler era, followed by the firing of Thibodeau. According to Britt Robson of The Athletic, among the changes will involve Saunders becoming Minnesota’s fully-entrenched head coach.

Taylor flirted with a stark reversion to the “country club” vibe of familiar folks with ties to the franchise. Even now, it is widely expected that Saunders will progress from interim to official head coach, and that acting-POBO and current general manager Scott Layden will likely be retained in some fashion while being paid $4 million over the remaining two seasons of his contract. But there was a time when Taylor actively considered leaving that duo in place without imposing any overarching authority. It feels very significant that he changed his mind.

Saunders, the son of longtime Timberwolves head coach Flip Saunders, coached for a total of 42 games, guiding the team to a win-loss record of 17-25. Most analysts were impressed by Saunders’ tenure, especially since he was essentially running a system employed by Thibodeau. The 33-year-old was also lauded for his ability to connect with players, including former No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins, who’s disappointed in his NBA career so.

In the event that the Wolves officially promote him to  head coach, we’ll get to see Saunders come into his own.