Minnesota Timberwolves training camp is underway, and the Wolves have also announced a series of new hires and promotions.
The Minnesota Timberwolves began training camp on Sunday. They also announced several new hires and promotions on their coaching staff and in the front office.
Let’s catch up on the most notable staffing changes, plus pass along some notes coming out of training camp.
Minnesota Timberwolves add Rudy Tomjanovich, others to team’s payroll
We noted the (virtual) presence of soon-to-be Hall-of-Famer Rudy Tomjanovich back during the pre-draft process.
The article by ESPN’s Royce Young focused on Rudy T’s thoughts related to a potential frontcourt pairing of current Wolves star Cheap Karl-Anthony Towns Jersey and prospect James Wiseman, but evidently, Tomjanovich’s presence went beyond his take that one potential scenario.
The Wolves have now officially announced the addition of Tomjanovich to the front office as a player personnel consultant, along with a host of other moves.
Tomjanovich, of course, won back-to-back championships in 1994 and 1995 as head coach of the Houston Rockets. He had a 503-397 record over 12 seasons in Houston and coached a half-season with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2004-05. He will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this year.
The Wolves also added Joseph Blair to the coaching staff as an assistant. He was with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, G League affiliate of the Houston Rockets, for several seasons and was the head coach in 2018-19.
Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns is still grieving the death of his mother, Jacqueline Cruz-Towns, and opened up about the losses his family has experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking to reporters Friday, Towns said he “hasn’t been in a good place” since his mom was hospitalized with COVID-19. She died from complications of the virus April 13.
In addition to his mom, Towns said he’s had six other family members die from COVID-19: “I’m the one looking for answers to try to keep my family well informed and make all the moves necessary to keep them alive.”
He said he doesn’t think playing will be a form of therapy for him because having his mom and other family watch him play basketball brought him a joy that will no longer be there:
KAT on returning to play after losing his mother and six others to COVID, including an uncle just last night. https://t.co/TzkmcPqQK6
In their statement announcing Cruz-Towns’ death, the Timberwolves noted she had been suffering from COVID-19 “for more than a month” when she died:
“Jackie was many things to many people—a wife, mother, daughter, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend. The matriarch of the Towns family, she was an incredible source of strength; a fiery caring, and extremely loving person, who touched everyone she met. Her passion was palpable and her energy will never be replaced.”
Towns has spoken openly about how difficult it has been for him and his family in the eight months since she died at the age of 59.
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“I think for me, I think if I was to say how am I coping and how am I healing from this, I’m trying to heal myself through others,” he told Eric Todisco of People last month.
Even before his mother’s death, Towns was using his platform to help during the pandemic. The two-time All-Star announced March 15 a $100,000 donation to support the Mayo Clinic’s rollout of a test used to detect COVID-19.
There were several other additions as well, both in the basketball operations department and in other areas of the front office.
Ryan Saunders talks about Minnesota Timberwolves frontcourt rotation
The Minnesota Timberwolves suddenly have myriad combinations to consider in their frontcourt. As training camp got underway on Sunday, head coach Ryan Saunders spoke to the possibilities.
For those asking about Rondae Hollis-Jefferson: I think RHJ wasn’t named by Saunders because he is on a non-guaranteed contract.
Personally, if RHJ makes the team, I see him in more of a 5 role — maybe 4.5 next to KAT.
— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) December 6, 2020
We’ve talked here at Dunking With Wolves about the likelihood of Cheap Jake Layman Jersey playing quite a bit at the 4, providing more defensive versatility and athleticism than Juancho Hernangomez.
The idea of Cheap Josh Okogie Jersey playing the 4 isn’t something we’ve heard before, but it isn’t shocking. Okogie’s height and wingspan will play, and his ability in transition and as a cutter on offense and versatility on defense will give him a chance to earn some minutes there.
Saunders also implies that Cheap Ed Davis Jersey will play more behind Towns at the 5 than alongside KAT at the 4. Surely, it will depend greatly on matchups, as will minutes for both Cheap Naz Reid Jersey and Cheap Jarred Vanderbilt Jersey.
NEXT: 2020-21 Wolves staff roundtable predictions
Perhaps we’ll get a better sense for Saunders’ rotation as early as this Saturday when the Wolves open their preseason schedule against the Memphis Grizzlies.