During an introductory press conference to introduce Chris Finch as their new head coach, Minnesota Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas laid out a timeline of the team's decision to move on from Ryan Saunders on Sunday night and move forward with Finch on a multi-year deal.
According to Rosas, the team had decided to move on from Saunders on Sunday evening in part due to the Timberwolves not being out to close out games in recent weeks and the development of their young players.
"It was really tough for the group over the past two weeks just to not maximize our opportunities," Rosas said. "To evaluate the development of our young players, the development of our best players and to translate that into winning just wasn't happening."
Although Saunders was allowed to coach the game because they were in pregame preparations, Rosas reached out to the Toronto Raptors and was granted permission to talk to Finch.
The Timberwolves fired Saunders after the 103-99 loss on Sunday night but were still in negotiations with Finch through the morning hours. As the two sides completed the deal on Monday night, Finch was ready to take over the Timberwolves.
Finch brings an extensive coaching resume to the Timberwolves that includes stops in Germany, Great Britain, Belgium and the NBA D-League. Rosas, who worked with Finch to lead the Rio Grande Valley Vipers to the D-League title in 2010, cited Finch's coaching experience as a reason to bring him to the Wolves.
"The things that he's done coaching all around the world at different levels, those experiences are very relevant to our current game," Rosas explained. "We play a very international game in the NBA and the experience that Chris has...those expertise are very important for our organization on both sides of the floor."
Finch also brings an ability to create offense during his stops as an assistant in Houston, Denver, New Orleans, and Toronto. As he was part of offenses that created superstars in James Harden, Nikola Jokic, and Anthony Davis, Finch's next project will be getting the most out of the duo of D'Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns.
Finch mentioned several objectives for his new stars including getting Towns back to being the center point of a Timberwolves offense that ranks 28th in the league and getting more out of Russell. However, Finch stated that the entire roster was a reason for coming to Minnesota.
"The combination between [Russell] and KAT, and [Malik Beasley] is something that every coach would be excited about," Finch said. "Their skill sets seem to mesh well together but they also have to learn to accentuate each other."
Finch's job to turn around the 7-24 Timberwolves will start on Tuesday as he has joined the team in Milwaukee for their matchup with the Bucks. While Rosas and Finch acknowledged any potential changes will be a process, their long-term goal focuses on getting more out of the team.
"We want this to become a winning program and we're not there right now," Rosas said. "As a result, we had to make the change that we have and it's important we change our habits day in and day out."