Deep Dive: It's Time For Chris Finch To Shine ... Again
Minnesota's head coach's encore might be more spectacular than his debut.
Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch arrived in the Twin Cities in a blaze of glory. Headlines licked and swirled like flames and eyebrows raised throughout the NBA world when he swept into the perennially downtrodden franchise to replace Ryan Saunders. Fast forward 18 months and Finch has coached his way into endearment and now has the unenviable task of spearheading Minnesota’s newest attempt to delve into the world of the NBA’s elite.
Summiting that playoff mountain was an achievement a rare few have conquered in Minnesota, but there are bigger peaks to scale and a whole lot of climbing left to do. A lone outlier is a fine accomplishment — only Tom Thibodeau has matched it since Flip Saunders’ original run as coach — but with a big-money President of Basketball Operations in Tim Connelly and the ground-quaking arrival of Rudy Gobert, the mountain feels steeper and the footing seems rockier.
If there is one thing the 52-year-old has exhibited time and time again throughout his relatively short tenure, though, it’s that he can squeeze blood from any stone you put in front of him. Finch, as inexperienced as he is for an NBA head coach, thrives in spaces where he can unleash his creativity, flexibility, and roster-management nous.
You could gesture wildly at the entirety of last season to boldly underline that point. The wins, the comradery, the rampant post-new year offense, the legitimate scrap they had with the second-seed Memphis Grizzlies in round one of the playoffs. It’s so blindingly obvious it smacks you in the jaw and takes your lunch money. But, if you zoom in on Minnesota’s defensive scheme, personnel and, ultimately, roaring success, then you get a brushstroke that paints an entire Finch-laden mural.
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