The Timberwolves made another addition to their basketball operations Friday, creating a unique position under President Gersson Rosas.
The Wolves are hiring Robby Sikka to be their vice president of basketball performance and technology. Sikka has an extensive background in sports medicine and has consulted with teams across the NBA, NHL, NFL and MLB. The Wolves are hiring Sikka to work exclusively for them.
Sikka will help assess and improve the Wolves’ on-court performance through the use of analytics and technology.
“When we talk about being modern and being player-centric, I think he hits those areas in a way where we haven’t had somebody in our organization in the past,” Rosas said. “… We’re very fortunate to have a guy like that who’s a local guy who’s passionate about what he’s doing and he’s passionate about the Minnesota Timberwolves. To make him an exclusive member of our organization is a big deal for us.”
Sikka was previously the associate director for Mayo Clinic Sports and completed an anesthesiology residence at the University of Minnesota with a special interest in sports, physiology and technology.
“It has been a lifelong dream of mine to be part of the Minnesota Timberwolves,” Sikka said in a statement. “To have a chance to work alongside such an outstanding leader like Gersson to help build a sustainable model of excellence is truly exciting.”
Sikka is also the founder and CEO of the Sports Medicine Analytics Research Team (SMART).
Part of his job will be monitoring how Wolves players are physically performing in games and practices, how tired they are and how their mental state might be affecting their production.
“Over the last five years, that area has been a program changer not only in terms of keeping players healthy, but also in terms of developing players,” Rosas said. “Our mantra is we need to know our players better than anybody else knows them. Better than they know themselves. That’s a key part of understanding and knowing players at a whole different level.”
It’s one thing to have access to this kind of information, but the Wolves will have to harness it and be able to use it in a practical way. Rosas said Sikka’s previous experience in the sports world will help do that.
“For us as an executive body, all those areas are critical where we have to be on the same page,” Rosas said. “We have to have the best data and we’ve got to be able to make the best decisions for players.”
Two days before the NBA free-agent market opens, the Wolves waived 6-8 guard Cam Reynolds.
Reynolds, 24, joined the Wolves in February and averaged 5.0 points and 1.6 rebounds in 19 games.