ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Timberwolves are hiring David Vanterpool to be the top assistant on head coach Ryan Saunders' staff.
"Sources: Minnesota is hiring Portland assistant David Vanterpool as associate head coach. He’ll run defense and play key role in support of Ryan Saunders. Vanterpool spent seven years with Blazers, playing a prominent part in growth of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum."
Vanterpool reportedly interviewed for the head coaching job with the Wolves before Minnesota President of Basketball Operations elected to remove the interim label and give Saunders the full-time head coach position.
Vanterpool has been on head coach Terry Stotts' staff in Portland since 2012-13, and is still coaching this season with the Blazers reaching the Western Conference Finals.
As a defensive coach in Portland, Vanterpool helped the Blazers improve over his seven years. Here's where their team defensive rating ranked each season with Vanterpool on the coaching staff.
- 2018-19: 16th (109.5)
- 2017-18: 6th (105.5)
- 2016-17: 22nd (110.0)
- 2015-16: 19th (106.8)
- 2014-15: 9th (102.8)
- 2013-14: 16th (106.1)
- 2012-13: 25th (107.9)
Vanterpool's credit for improving the defense swelled in 2017-18, when they when from 22nd to sixth in defensive rating. But last season, they dipped back down to 16th. Granted, the 2018-19 season was one of the most offensive-dominant years in the game's history, .
Star Tribune Wolves beat writer Chris Hine brings up another good reason for hiring Vanterpool: He was on the Team Canada coaching staff in 2015 – the last year Wiggins played for the national team – and has a good relationship with Andrew Wiggins.
Perhaps Vanterpool can help Wiggins become a consistent producer on both ends of the floor similar to how Vanterpool helped Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum blossom in Portland.
Trading Wiggins and his maximum contract is an impossible task for the Wolves, so bringing in a coach that might be able to maximize his talent could be a beneficial move.
Vanterpool is also a Vikings fan, or at least a big fan of wide receiver Stefon Diggs.