Chris Finch Rumors
Finch is already familiar with one of the Wolves’ acquisitions this offseason in Patrick Beverley. The veteran guard was in Houston’s organization when Finch was an assistant there. Finch said Beverley will help the Wolves develop an identity on the defensive end of the floor. “He’s going to bring a lot of toughness, tenacious defense,” Finch said. “It gives our defense a bit of a personality. Defenses are always best when they start on the ball with the type of approach and aggressiveness he brings. I think one of the most encouraging things about bringing Patrick here is not how excited we are he’s coming, but he’s really excited. He knows he’s exactly the type of piece we need.”
Darren Wolfson: Before Chris Finch and the #Timberwolves ultimately hired Elston Turner as the No. 3 ass’t, they had a tough call between him and #Kings ass’t/player development coach Lindsey Harding. She was impressive through the process. Once upon a time, she played for the Lynx.
Darren Wolfson: Mentioned on @SkorNorth today of a #Timberwolves hiring being imminent. And here we go: Elston Turner is joining Chris Finch’s staff, I hear. Once upon a time interviewed for the Wolves’ head gig. Long-time NBA player and ass’t, has a defensive background. Nice add.
You obviously were hired under extraordinarily chaotic circumstances. In the middle of an already-turbulent 2020-21 season, you hop from being an assistant on the sidelines for the Toronto Raptors to the head coaching position for the Timberwolves. Yet your own demeanor was remarkably low-key. It seemed like you deliberately wanted to form your own impressions about the Wolves and not get too much information coming in from the outside as a way for you to distill and start fresh. Chris Finch: Yeah, I think is exactly the way to best phrase it. I really used those first five games before the All-Star break as an evaluation on players, lineup combinations, approach, care, character, whatever. I didn’t — well, I wanted to win, you obviously try to win — but the most important thing was figuring out what we could change immediately, what we could change gradually and what we could never change until the offseason.
Chris Finch: I think that was probably the most important part of that period. Just getting away — I had to go back down to Florida at the All-Star break because my stuff was still there. And we hadn’t won a game yet. So I was very anxious over the break, just thinking, “Man, how bad is this?” And I thought, “OK, let’s simplify it, and let’s try and address the defensive issues first.” The defense was something we had to change now, the offense was something we could gradually work on. Like I have said many times, just trying to get them to compete.
You used the word “confidence” a lot back then. Chris Finch: Yeah, they didn’t have a lot of confidence. But you get confidence from competing. Not just every night, I mean competing every time down the floor. Competing through all the little parts of the play. I think that was important. We were able to win a few times coming out of the break. And what happens to a team that hasn’t won very much is, when you do win, it doesn’t become a benchmark for what you do next; it becomes, “Oh, thank God we didn’t lose,” and then there is a natural letdown. And we had a lot of that — a lot of that. So then, it is about trying to maintain some sort of standard and expectation.
So let’s move on to your impressions of the team for this upcoming season. This is a vague opening question but what are the reasons for improvement, the primary reasons why you will be better? Chris Finch: There is a deep and genuine motivation by Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell to have their best offseason ever. And that’s really where it begins and ends, because if your best players aren’t all-in and ready, then you are not going to go very far. They’ve seen their contemporaries having success. Devin Booker’s in the Finals. Nikola Jokic wins MVP. These are guys who they feel they are every bit as good as, if not better than — or at one point have been better than — in the league.