A two-time NBA champion coach with the Houston Rockets, the 72-year-old tactician last worked in the NBA way back in 2004-05 as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. Tomjanovich, however, had to relinquish that post after just 41 games due to health concerns.
The Wolves franchise introduced a major shakeup within their staff over the last few months, adding guys like Joseph Blair (assistant coach), Aaron Blackshear (director of analytics), Josh Gershon (college scouting coordinator), Javair Gillett (vice-president of sports science and player performance), Tru Pettigrew (VP of player programmes/diversity and inclusion), Nick Reick (video associate) and Pat Sullivan (player development/defensive associate).
Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas is indeed thrilled to have a guy as distinguished as Tomjanovic in their bid to return to relevance in the 2020-21 campaign.
“We continue our efforts to build a world-class basketball organisation and it is all about our people. These individuals are incredibly talented and possess skills and experience that will assist in building a sustainable winning program in Minnesota,” he said.
While consultancy jobs are a rarity in the league these days, it is worth noting that the great Phil Jackson once held the same position for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2013 shortly after vacating his coaching position.
The Wolves franchise is indeed in need of some star power in that front office, and Rudy T is surely the man for the job.
Tomjanovich became a household name due to his iconic “Never underestimate the heart of a champion” quote he spoke to life after leading Houston to back-to-back titles in '94 and '95. He was also a terrific player in the '70s, making five All-Star teams during that stretch. However, his playing career will always be synonymous with that life-threatening punch he received at the hands of Kermit Washington back in 1977.
It took a while, but he was finally enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame last April. The Wolves, meanwhile, are hopeful that a full season of the Karl-Anthony Towns-D'Angelo Russell pairing will finally pay dividends. They are also hoping that this year's top pick, Anthony Edwards, will also blossom into a star.