As they opened group workouts at training camp Sunday, the Timberwolves announced a list of staff changes, with one name standing out: Rudy Tomjanovich.
The former Rockets player and coach, who was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2020, joined the Wolves staff as a player personnel consultant.
Coach Ryan Saunders said the Wolves have been consulting with Tomjanovich since before last month's draft.
"It's been fantastic … He has a lot of unique perspectives," Saunders said. "That's what we appreciate and we value here. Even though he coached a while back, he was doing a lot of modern things offensively and defensively during his coaching tenure that we're ahead of the times."
Wolves President Gersson Rosas has long known Tomjanovich, dating back to the start of Rosas' career in the NBA with Houston.
According to the Wolves' release, Tomjanovich will "provide perspective on draft, trade and free agency prospects and processes."
Among other staff moves the Wolves made was adding Joseph Blair as an assistant coach. Blair was most recently an assistant with the 76ers but has previously worked with Rosas as an assistant with the Rockets' G-League team in Rio Grande Valley. Other staff additions include Aaron Blackshear (director of analytics), Josh Gershon (college scouting coordinator), Javair Gillett (vice president of sports science and player performance), Nick Reick (video associate), Pat Sullivan (player development/defensive associate) and Tru Pettigrew (vice president of player programs/diversity and inclusion). Pettigrew has spoken with the Wolves in previous months about social justice and police reform in the wake of George Floyd's killing in May.
Putting in the work
Before his Zoom session with reporters on Sunday, Anthony Edwards was already sweating, and practice hadn't begun. Edwards said he had been working for 30 minutes with associate head coach David Vanterpool, who oversees the Wolves defense.
Edwards hasn't had much time to learn the Wolves' defensive system since being drafted, but said he and Vanterpool are working on that.
"Coach Vanterpool took me under his wing and he realized I could be a really good defensive player," Edwards said. "He taught me areas to cut off, areas where we want them to get to, where we don't want them to get to, so I feel like my defense has improved since I got here."
No lasagna this season
Because of the coronavirus, Wolves owner Glen Taylor and his wife, Becky, won't be hosting their annual lasagna dinner at their home in Mankato for the team. In place of that, the Taylors were on a teamwide Zoom call with players and staff, a spokesperson said.