Finch Faced with Early Dilemmas


After severing ties with Ryan Saunders, a grace period of genuine concern and excitement ensued: a precarious blend for Minnesota Timberwolves faithful. Yet, fans abroad wondered who could fill the space.

Assistant coach David Vanderpool stood at the forefront of the media’s minds. A tenured coach who had payed his dues, just waiting for his next great opportunity. But against the majority’s expectations, the Timberwolves made an outside hire.

Chris Finch assisted the Toronto Raptors for the past few months, shortly after helping the New Orleans Pelicans find their offensive identity in the wake of Anthony Davis‘ departure. The Pels finished with the 17th ranked offense in 2019; a number that fails to stand out from the crowd.

Finch’s plans, however, created budding stars out of Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Zion Williamson. A trade many thought would sink the Pelicans has warped into genuine promise. Now, as New Orleans sits on the edge of playoff contention, it’s hard to ignore the impact Finch had on their roster before taking his leave and gives promise to his role in Minnesota.

Early Struggles

The struggles the Finch-led squad have faced are not what you’d think. In the first few weeks of the job, Finch has only held a few practices and a handful of shoot-arounds. Not much to put plans in place for this potentially great offense. The Wolves’ lack of practices during Finch’s short tenure have been substituted with rotation experiments that garner mixed results.

Players like Jaylen Nowell and Jarred Vanderbilt have benefited from the new coach’s plans, as well as Karl-Anthony Towns, who is seeing the offense run prominently through his hands. Although, fan favorites Jaden McDaniels and Naz Reid have experienced the opposite. While McDaniels is dealing with a decrease in floor time, Reid has endured a rough three-point shooting skid.

In his first few pressers, Finch emphasized the need for simplicity, which speaks volumes to the way Saunders ran the offense. From the looks of it, the Wolves will prioritize the development of their young players with the current season all but lost.

As the Timberwolves return from the All-Star break, the health and efficiency of the roster must take center stage. An eight-game sample size is simply too few to judge in terms of progress for Coach Finch. The second half of the season will be where he solidifies his plans and embraces what challenges may lie ahead.

Challenges Ahead

With the trade deadline looming, the Timberwolves may be looking to make another splash to broaden the scope of Finch’s future in Minnesota. Questions surround the need for another star to compliment the Towns and D-Lo duo. After only sharing the floor five times in just over a year, there’s certainly a lot left to be desired. Names like Aaron Gordon and Malik Monk have fluttered around ears leading up to March 25th. Only, with so much invested in Anthony Edwards and the backcourt, it’ll be surprising to see Minnesota take a risk.

Power forward is an area in need of support. As Vanderbilt continues to make strides during his first year with the Wolves, decisions on the future of the position will become clearer. Whether Gersson Rosas and Co. need to acquire a stout veteran or wait for the draft, inside help for KAT is dire. Finch will look to test his young players and continue simplifying through his rotations in the coming months.

Within weeks we may see supporting roles solidified. Only through trial and error can this team become successful, and fans can only hope that it’s worth the wait.

Follow us on Twitter @TWolvesLead for the latest Timberwolves news and insight. 

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About Andrew Johnson

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