Dual roles could prove to be too much, even for a top-notch coach.
They are the mad scientists of the NBA, testing the limits of dysfunctional DNA, dumping beakers of toxins into pans of hazardous waste until they create something never seen before.
In their latest experiment, the Minnesota Timberwolves have taken a pretty good former basketball coach and transformed him into a Three-Headed Prince.
This creature appears benign but, like kudzu, has the ability to engulf its surroundings if left unchecked.
Flip Saunders was a pretty good NBA head coach. Now, thanks to his relationship with Wolves owner Glen Taylor and the Wolves’ inability to hire promising candidates who haven’t golfed with Taylor, Saunders is the Wolves’ Basketball Czar, Grand Poobah, Lord of the Realm and Master of All He Surveys.
Imagine the power he’d wield if he ever coached in an NBA Finals.
Leave it to the Timberwolves to create the potential for an entirely new form of dysfunction. They have hired Saunders as their next coach. In a vacuum, this is a logical move. In the constant maelstrom that is the Timberwolves’ hierarchy, this was the only sensible move remaining.
How long will it be before Flip Saunders the coach starts complaining about the roster Flip Saunders the team president handed him, and Flip Saunders the owner has to step in to broker a peace?
Today, Flip will introduce Flip as the next coach of the Timberwolves, who will try to become the most successful coach the franchise has employed since Flip and try to save the equity that Flip has invested in the worst-run American franchise since Howard Johnson’s.
Taylor has made Saunders more powerful in this organization than Gregg Popovich is in San Antonio’s.
As an NBA coach, Saunders won 54.8 percent of his games.
As an executive, Saunders has presided over one draft, in which he chose Shabazz ‘‘No, not him!’’ Muhammad in the first round.
As a part owner of the Timberwolves, Saunders has done his best work. He has cozied up to Taylor, meaning he could draft Oto Osenieks and Maverick Ahanmisi in the upcoming draft and land a contract extension.
Under the circumstances, Saunders and Taylor are making the right decision. But the circumstances are lousy.
Saunders couldn’t land any of the coaches he really wanted, in part because the Wolves will be forced to trade their only All-Star player, and in part because of the franchise’s reputation around the league.
The last time the Wolves searched for candidates for an important job, all of the top candidates bailed out, leaving them to hire someone who knew nothing about basketball, David Kahn, to run the draft by himself.
That’s how the Wolves wound up with Jonny Flynn instead of Steph Curry, and Wes Johnnson instead of DeMarcus Cousins, and why they favored the other top pick in that first draft, Ricky Rubio, over Love when it came to handing out full-length contracts.
It is typical of the Timberwolves’ tortured history that they even a logical decision like this one is rooted in profound failure. That failure is why they had no chance to keep Love long-term once Kahn insulted him.
There are two dangers in Saunders the part-owner and executive becoming Saunders the coach:
|Baltimore||0||2nd Qtr 1:08|
|Green Bay||10||3rd Qtr|
|Kansas City||6||3rd Qtr|
|New England||7||3rd Qtr 15:00|
|NY Giants||3:05 PM|
|Denver||12/22/14 7:30 PM|
|New York||2:30 PM|
|LA Lakers||5:00 PM|
|New Orleans||6:00 PM|
|Maine||42||2nd Half 10:27|
|Ferris State||61||2nd Half 10:31|
|San Francisco||51||2nd Half 7:39|
|Oregon State||48||2nd Half 3:25|
|Coastal Carolina||28||2nd Half 16:18|
|Holy Cross||11||1st Half 6:45|
|Southern Miss||18||1st Half 5:46|
|Western Carolina||12||1st Half 7:56|
|Creighton||12||1st Half 5:25|
|Maryland||17||1st Half 6:48|
|Cornell||25||1st Half 7:30|
|Vermont||13||1st Half 7:20|
|Loyola-Maryland||17||1st Half 6:12|
|Reinhardt||17||1st Half 7:48|
|Ark-Little Rock||25||1st Half 4:29|
|TX-Pan American||28||1st Half 6:00|
|Alabama State||21||1st Half 6:45|
|FIU||8||1st Half 15:23|
|Austin Peay||2:00 PM|
|Tennessee St||2:00 PM|
|South Dakota||2:00 PM|
|Northern Ariz||3:00 PM|
|SD Christian||3:00 PM|
|UC Irvine||3:30 PM|
|Seton Hall||5:00 PM|
|Appalachian St||5:30 PM|
|North Dakota St||6:00 PM|
|San Jose St||6:00 PM|
|Alcorn State||8:00 PM|
|Sacramento St||9:00 PM|
|BYU||12/22/14 1:00 PM|
|Marshall||12/23/14 5:00 PM|
|Navy||12/23/14 8:30 PM|
|San Diego St|
|Central Mich||12/24/14 11:00 AM|
|Fresno State||12/24/14 7:00 PM|
|Illinois||12/26/14 12:00 PM|
|Rutgers||12/26/14 3:30 PM|
|NC State||12/26/14 7:00 PM|
|Cincinnati||12/27/14 12:00 PM|
|Duke||12/27/14 1:10 PM|
|(15) Arizona State|
|Miami-Florida||12/27/14 3:00 PM|
|Boston College||12/27/14 3:30 PM|
|(25) Nebraska||12/27/14 7:00 PM|
|Liberty||38||2nd Half 6:05|
|(1) South Carolina||76|
|Fairleigh Dickinson||49||2nd Half 7:20|
|Buffalo||58||2nd Half 8:05|
|Bucknell||52||2nd Half 7:48|
|Mount St Marys||38|
|Stony Brook||59||2nd Half 6:32|
|FIU||62||2nd Half 7:36|
|Duquesne||29||2nd Half 11:21|
|Maine||45||2nd Half 4:05|
|William & Mary||45|
|Alabama State||32||2nd Half 8:53|
|TX-Pan American||35||2nd Half 7:21|
|South Dakota St||57||2nd Half 5:41|
|Saint Josephs||50||2nd Half 0:28|
|(5) Notre Dame||64|
|Radford||41||2nd Half 9:13|
|(3) Texas||31||2nd Half|
|(4) Texas A&M||32|
|Rhode Island||36||2nd Half 16:47|
|South Florida||12||1st Half 11:44|
|Sam Houston St||18||1st Half 6:15|
|Evansville||9||1st Half 8:12|
|(14) Maryland||35||1st Half 7:32|
|Mercer||22||1st Half 6:24|
|Coll of Charleston||23|
|NC A&T||6||1st Half 12:40|
|Princeton||29||1st Half 7:50|
|Eastern Illinois||30||1st Half 2:40|
|Rider||21||1st Half 5:27|
|SC State||8||1st Half 6:29|
|Fairfield||20||1st Half 6:54|
|Richmond||39||1st Half 3:50|
|Cleveland State||33||1st Half 3:57|
|Kent State||18||1st Half 5:02|
|South Alabama||5||1st Half 4:09|
|Saint Peters||10||1st Half 6:13|
|Youngstown St||21||1st Half 3:28|
|NJIT||14||1st Half 7:42|
|Davidson||6||1st Half 8:39|
|Indiana State||1:30 PM|
|Southern U||1:30 PM|
|Wright State||0||1st Half 20:00|
|(19) Oklahoma St||2:00 PM|
|Ark-Little Rock||2:00 PM|
|Northern Ariz||2:00 PM|
|North Dakota||2:00 PM|
|Western Ill||2:00 PM|
|(6) North Carolina|
|Ball State||2:00 PM|
|(8) Kentucky||2:00 PM|
|New Orleans||2:00 PM|
|Chicago State||2:00 PM|
|Bowling Green||2:00 PM|
|SE Missouri St|
|Northern Ill||2:00 PM|
|(23) Iowa||2:05 PM|
|Central Michigan||2:30 PM|
|Western Carolina||2:30 PM|
|Cal Poly||3:00 PM|
|No Dakota State||3:00 PM|
|Cal State Fullerton|
|Idaho State||3:00 PM|
|(18) Michigan State||3:00 PM|
|Fresno State||4:00 PM|
|St Francis-PA||4:00 PM|
|(10) Louisville||4:00 PM|
|(21) Miss State|