Flip Saunders Rumors

One of the first things both Zach LaVine and Fred Hoiberg noticed when they walked into Target Center on Saturday morning was the banner honoring Flip Saunders hanging from the rafters on one end of the arena. “I got a little emotional when I looked up there and saw that,” said Hoiberg, coach of the Chicago Bulls, before Saturday night’s 122-104 loss to the Timberwolves.

The Timberwolves will raise a banner for Flip Saunders on Thursday night before the game against the Los Angeles Lakers, a gesture meant to cement the late coach and executive’s place in the franchise’s history. In the nearly two and a half years since Flip passed away, ASNF has become a mantra of sorts not just for Ryan, who remains with the organization as an assistant coach, but for the entire Saunders family. The tidal wave of stories and memories of Flip that flooded into the family from all corners in the days and weeks after his passing have naturally slowed as time has gone on. Now, finally, a pregame ceremony is being held to put a banner in the Target Center rafters that will ensure that a reminder of his legacy will always be just a tilt of the neck away.
Karl-Anthony Towns is interesting. The third-year center is already an offensive stud, averaging 20-plus points for the second year in a row, racking up double-doubles and shooting above 40 percent from three for the first time in his career. Defensively, the potential Towns flashed at Kentucky — the late Flip Saunders once compared Towns’ defense to Joakim Noah — has yet to materialize, and oftentimes when his defense comes up it’s off a comical breakdown in which he looks lost in coverage. Yet to a man, the Timberwolves believe in Towns’ defensive skills. “He has great instincts,” Gibson said. “He can put up five blocks a game if he really wanted to. It comes down to that sense of urgency and being willing to get there. It’s just effort. Sometimes it’s about wanting to do the job. Young guys are so keyed in on offense. This is his first year on a winning team and understanding what it takes to go deep and win big in this league. I think he is handling it well. He’s a lot better than where he started earlier this year.”