The Minnesota Timberwolves have hired Tom Thibodeau as their head coach and president of basketball operations, and this was an inspired move. Thibodeau started his coaching career with the Timberwolves as an assistant, and he has now returned. Critics could say that he will overwork Minnesota’s young players, but what they aren’t accounting for is Thibodeau’s work ethic.
He took a tour of the NBA‘s best teams this season and did a lot of looking in the mirror to see how he could improve as a coach. Will he still value regular-season wins and building good habits that can carry over into the playoffs? Absolutely, but he also understands the importance of keeping players healthy over time.
Thibodeau called the Timberwolves “the best young roster in the NBA” in a statement recently, and this was the most desirable head coaching job available this offseason. Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson also interviewed for the position, but Thibodeau won out in the end. The Timberwolves have also hired Scott Layden to work in the front office, and he worked for the last four seasons with the San Antonio Spurs. Thibodeau will clearly have a much better relationship with management this time around, and he’ll ultimately have the final say on any trade or free agency acquisition.
The Timberwolves have missed the playoffs for 14 years in a row, and that all ends next season. This is a roster with plenty of great defenders, and Thibodeau will mold them to play within a team concept. Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns, Ricky Rubio and Zach LaVine are going to have their work cut out for them in practice, but it will pay off with a playoff berth.
Thibodeau has as much to prove as these young players do after his messy exit from Chicago, and this could be a marriage that results in a lot of exciting basketball for the state of Minnesota.