Collect elite talent, then let Chris Finch work – Twin Cities


There are many questions about the “fit” whenever a team makes an acquisition, especially a large one. These questions – which often sound more like concerns – were voiced loudly in the basketball world after the Timberwolves paid a high price to secure the services of Rudy Gobert.

Can Gobert play alongside Karl-Anthony Towns? How will a big team fare in the playoffs when many of the top teams go small? Isn’t that a lot of money to pay for a pair of centers?

Maybe. We will see. And yes.

There are so many other layers to the Gobert trade from a Minnesota perspective, not the least of which is how the All-NBA center could help develop young star guard Anthony Edwards. But when it comes to the immediate future on the court, Timberwolves president of basketball operations Tim Connelly seems to have one concrete answer to all questions: Chris Finch will find out.

Here are some separate excerpts of Connelly’s comments regarding the Timberwolves coach during Gobert’s introductory press conference on Wednesday:

“Chris is an elite coach, so when you have great depth, top-notch elite talent and you add a guy like Rudy, it’s hard not to be excited. It’s hard not to be too risk averse and to throw some chips in it.

“Rudy’s best basketball is in front of him, and we add him to a core of really, really talented guys, we have an incredibly creative coach.”

“We are extremely lucky to have Chris as our coach because Chris is so creative.”

Basically: Rudy Gobert is awesome, and Chris Finch is awesome, so how could it not be awesome?

And, frankly, that basic math adds up. Because elite talent and elite coaching is the relatively simple and consistent formula used to achieve top-tier success in the NBA, as well as any other league.

Finch has already shown what he can do with less than the best talent in this league during his short tenure with the Timberwolves.

Minnesota’s roster frankly wasn’t very good in the spring of 2021, when Finch took over and led the Timberwolves 9-7. Last year’s team lacked defensive acumen but finished 13th in the NBA in defensive efficiency. There was a night in late December when the Timberwolves’ COVID-ravaged roster left the team with a starting lineup consisting of Jordan McLaughlin, Malik Beasley, Jaden McDaniels, Josh Okogie and Nathan Knight.

That night, the Timberwolves defeated a Boston team, while also shorthanded, which still included Jaylen Brown, Al Horford, Robert Williams III, Grant Williams and Payton Pritchard. Minnesota’s star players in that game were Jaylen Nowell and then newly signed Greg Monroe, who arrived on the scene just hours before the tip-off.

From his early years of training cutting his teeth in Europe to his time rounding up new rosters all the time in the G-League, Finch has learned to do more with less. Now he can do more with more.

No matter what positions they hold or if it’s the NBA trend, top talent is top talent, and Finch is clearly thrilled to have him. When Connelly and the coach first discussed the idea of ​​potentially adding Gobert, Finch pulled out a whiteboard and got to work diagramming what some lineups would look like in action.

“What we like is that the dynamic between him and KAT will now force teams to choose a bit more how they want to protect one or the other, and then we’ll have to figure out how we leverage that, and that’s the fun part,” Finch said. “That’s what the rest of the summer is for.”

Finch was already looking forward to Summer League action this week in Las Vegas, where he and his staff could meet to put together preliminary plans.

“Coach is going to be able to do a lot of cool things,” Gobert said.

With a lineup certainly bigger than its opponent every night, Minnesota is ready for a season full of chess matches. Finch has proven himself good at this game. Anything the staff designs, he said, will remain “simple and highly executable”.

The knee-jerk reaction when an opponent goes small is to do the same to match, especially in the playoffs. Finch has previously said that won’t be the Timberwolves’ approach.

“We don’t do that,” he said. “We’re going to have to find a way to make all of these things work.”

The Timberwolves rely on their coach to achieve this.

“We’re very confident in our ability to do that,” Finch said, “and more importantly in our players’ ability to do that.”

BRIEFLY

On Friday, the Timberwolves announced the signings of forward Kyle Anderson and rookie winger Wendell Moore Jr. Moore, a first-round pick, signed ahead of his Summer League debut on Friday in Las Vegas.

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