Report: Ryan Saunders enjoyed coaching Timberwolves roster when D’Angelo Russell was out of lineup

Brendan O'Sullivan
2 Min Read

The Minnesota Timberwolves recently fired head coach Ryan Saunders, and sports reporter Darren Wolfson said Saunders and guard D’Angelo Russell didn’t see eye to eye.

Saunders, son of the late Flip Saunders, took over as the head coach for the Timberwolves in the 2018-19 regular season.

Since then, he’s accumulated a 43-94 record. That 31.4 win percentage wasn’t enough for Minnesota, so the team has since hired former Toronto Raptors assistant coach Chris Finch.

The younger Saunders led the Timberwolves to a league-worst 7-24 before being let go.

Additionally, his lack of on-court connection with Russell may have played a role in the firing. It’s also possible Timberwolves star center Karl-Anthony Towns had a say in the decision.

This season, Russell has only played four games alongside Towns and 20 games in total. Towns has missed a good portion of time as well, playing just 11 games.

Still, the two have been essential to the Timberwolves’ offense as they account for a combined 41.3 points per game. Additionally, Towns offers 11.2 rebounds per game on 51.5 percent from the field, 42.3 percent from three and 94.1 from the foul line.

Russell adds 5.1 assists per game on 42.6 percent from the floor, 39.9 percent on 3-pointers and 75.0 percent from the free-throw line.

It is yet to be determined if Finch will see eye to eye with Russell or if he will take a similar viewpoint to that of Saunders.

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Brendan has spent the past few years studying journalism at Quinnipiac University and will earn his master’s degree in sports journalism in spring 2022. He’s been the editor-in-chief and the Quinnipiac men’s basketball beat reporter for the Quinnipiac Chronicle, the student-run newspaper at the university.