Timberwolves media day was an all-day affair for some media in attendance on Monday, but at some point during the day, coach Chris Finch changed from his suit into more informal athletic wear, like what he would wear to a practice.
At one point during a short break in the procession of players coming for their opening news conferences, Finch came out and chatted with the few media members still left who were in it for the long haul Monday, joking that since they hang around so much they should all form a bowling team. Then he started to quote Bill Murray's film "Kingpin."
If Finch was stressed out over the firing of Gersson Rosas, the man who hired him midseason from Toronto, the easy-going coach wasn't showing it. His demeanor could be a point of stability for the Wolves on the court as they navigate the beginning of the season under the unusual circumstance of Rosas' firing just before training camp.
Finch declined to detail his reaction to the news during his news conference at media day Monday, and at the first day of practice Tuesday said he didn't think the changes at the top would have any effect on the on-court performance.
"They control the energy and excitement in the building and it's fun to see them back," Finch said. "I really think it's about them. We've done a good job of separating ourselves from everything else and just trying to get ready for this week. We've done a lot of work to ramp up, both on and off the floor."
Finch had an offseason to think about what concepts he would like to install offensively and defensively, with how to utilize Karl-Anthony Towns in pick and roll at the top of the defensive agenda. But one thing that should help Finch is despite the difficult circumstances of coming to coach a new team midseason, he seems to have built up credibility with players from some of the changes he installed last season and the accountability he demands in games and practices.
"It's always one of our challenges as coaches to get their trust," Finch said. "First and foremost, they've got to believe you know what you're talking about and you have their best interests at heart. I tried to do that. I think they were in a place where they were willing to listen."
D'Angelo Russell was among those players, and he spoke Monday about how quickly he latched on to Finch's style.
"I love that guy already," Russell said. "I usually don't judge coaches that soon because I've had a lot of them in a short period of time. But from everything I've seen, everything that I've heard, his supporting cast, the staff around him, it's been great. The comfortability is there. I can feel it."
Then there is Anthony Edwards, who saw his production go up after Finch took over in the second half of the season. There was also a moment early in Finch's tenure when he benched Edwards for the final minutes of a game he was struggling, which helped set the tone for the accountability Finch wanted to set the rest of the season. He and Edwards discussed that benching the next day and Edwards gave Finch credit for the way he closed the season.
"Finchy did a great job of just letting everybody play," Edwards said. "Be themselves and just go out there and be mistake free and just have fun with the game."
In the wake of Rosas' firing, that's all Finch wants the players to do.