When you have as many jobs as Flip Saunders has — part-owner, president of basketball operations and coach of the Timberwolves — it can be hard to keep up on social media.
His Twitter account shows he has tweeted 692 times, but until Sunday, there had been nary a peep from @Flip_Saunders on Twitter since March 26, 2014. Saunders broke that 16-month silence with a flurry of three tweets on a subject often discussed by fans: three-pointers.
Here are all three, strung together: “Been reading Blogs and tweets from Experts? Think it might be time to get back on Twitter to set the facts straight and get real stories. … Let’s get something straight. I’m not talking about fans. Many times they make a lot of sense and I share their thoughts. … Let’s set this straight. I love 3 pointers. We have to shoot and will. Whoever said u didn’t like 3 s is wrong. We will improve.”
In a follow-up phone interview Monday, I asked Saunders if three-point shooting is a subject that gets under his skin, because it sure seems that way.
“It doesn’t get under my skin because I know that if you talk to any player I’ve coached in 18 years, not one guy has probably ever said, ‘Flip told me not to shoot a three-point shot,” Saunders said. “If I had a disdain or didn’t like three-point shots, I’d be telling players to step in and not to shoot them.”
But if we’re getting things straight, there is still this: As Steve McPherson — a blogger on the Wolves, though probably not one Saunders was pointing at specifically in his tweets — notes on awolfamongwolves.com, Saunders-coached teams have consistently ranked in the bottom third of the NBA in three-point attempts. Last season, his first back coaching with the Wolves, they were dead last.
The recent mitigating circumstance is this: The Wolves don’t have a lot of great outside shooters. Bad shooters shouldn’t shoot. The counter is that Saunders the coach is being supplied players by Saunders the basketball boss. He’s built a young and athletic roster, but he hasn’t really loaded it with proven shooters.
The “we will improve” part of his Twitter flurry, though, is a nod to his belief that a lot of the Wolves’ young players will become good three-point shooters and allow the Wolves to use the shot more often going forward. A healthy season from sharpshooter Kevin Martin, who Saunders considers one of the best in the NBA from long-distance, would also help.
“[Zach] LaVine can develop into a three-point shooter. Shabazz Muhammad can develop into a three-point shooter,” Saunders said. “[Karl-Anthony] Towns is going to shoot some threes. [Nemanja] Bjelica can shoot threes. … And I think [Andrew] Wiggins will be able to.”
Maybe that will happen. But the numbers still say a lot, so I have a feeling the bloggers are going to keep firing away until Flip’s team does.