The Minnesota Timberwolves hope for a return to their glory years–or as much of a “glory years” that the T-Wolves can claim–in bringing back their erstwhile coach. Except this time, Flip Saunders returns as Minnesota’s president of basketball operations after the failures of the David Kahn era. Saunders has been away from the organization and more recently on the media side of things, so it will be interesting to see whether the organization recaptures its old form.
“My goal is to help the Wolves achieve the success that we experienced during my first tenure with this organization,” Saunders said, via The Associated Press. “We have a strong nucleus in place and will look to add assets that will allow us to make the playoffs and eventually compete for an NBA championship.”
Perhaps Saunders will do just that, but let’s take a closer look at his trials and tribulations since departing the land of a thousand lakes after his tenure from 1995-2005, as it certainly featured its share of both highs and lows in the years since taking Kevin Garnett and the T-Wolves to the Western Conference finals.
The immediate aftermath saw much success just a state away, with Saunders coaching the Detroit Pistons to three consecutive division championships. While he never got Detroit to break out of the Eastern Conference and into the NBA finals before his firing in June 2008, at least he made the playoffs–which the Pistons haven’t done since.
Those 50 and 60-win seasons would turn into more of the 20-win variety in joining the Washington Wizards in 2009, getting fired again in his third year, except this time midseason. But with a new position at his old organization, perhaps this could provide just the fresh start that Saunders needs for a successful reboot.