The whiteboard or dry-erase board has been a staple for coaches in huddles almost as long as basketball has existed.
They are both an instructional tool and sometimes the unfortunate recipient of a coach's anger, should he or she feel like throwing it or snapping it on his or her knee.
But this season Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders hasn't used a whiteboard to draw up plays. Instead, Saunders has been using a tablet, and there are some analytical reasons for that.
"Seeing that players are spending a lot of times on their screens — video games, phones — I kind of dove into some research and some articles that say this generation may retain information better off a screen with some animation, too," Saunders said.
So he has switched exclusively to using an application on his iPad. Saunders can then use an Apple pencil to draw on it.
"We haven't even used a whiteboard except for one time when the Apple pencil tip kind of fell off," Saunders said.
Saunders said the app has the entire Wolves playbook on it and he can call up plays, have it run animation for those plays and he can diagram and draw on the screen as he chooses.
"We're still learning with it …" Saunders said. "It's evolving every day."
Grateful for sleep
Road trips in the NBA during the coronavirus pandemic are not like they used to be. Players are restricted in terms of where they can go outside of their hotel rooms.
But Jake Layman is grateful for one thing he can still do on the road — sleep.
Layman was away from the team last month for a few days as he and his wife, Jasmine, had their first child.
"I'm definitely taking advantage of every road trip when it comes to my sleep, for sure," Layman said.
Layman has been juggling life at home with trying to re-establish himself in the Wolves rotation.
Saunders had cut Layman's minutes before Layman took some time off for the birth of his child and there were a few games Layman was available but didn't play. He has played more of late and logged at least 13 minutes in each of the past five games as Juancho Hernangomez, who overlaps positions with Layman at times, has been out because of COVID protocols.
Other young players, however, are bucking for minutes, such as Jarred Vanderbilt and Jaden McDaniels. Layman has still been encouraging of them when they have had their opportunity to play.
"I've kind of been through that in my career, where I was playing, then wasn't playing, then playing again, so I think I'm mentally ready for any of those situations," Layman said. "… I was able to keep my head straight and, I think, focus on the things that I could control, which was coming in every day, working hard on my game to make sure that I was ready to go when my name was called."
Wolves still out
Hernangomez entered the night questionable to play but did not, while Karl-Anthony Towns was still out as they both try to work their way back from the NBA's COVID protocols. Both are on the current road trip. Jarrett Culver (left ankle) also remained out.