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Ryan Saunders gets his first win as the Timberwolves’ interim head coach

Saunders was a Wizards assistant coach from 2009-2014.

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Oklahoma City Thunder
Ryan Saunders is the interim head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday, the Minnesota Timberwolves defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 119-117. Andrew Wiggins had a strong night for Minny, scoring 40 points. Wiggins and the Wolves held off OKC’s trio of Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Steven Adams who each scored at least 20 points.

After the win, the Wolves gave a champagne bath to interim head coach Ryan Saunders as if the Wolves won a championship.

For us at Bullets Forever, the bigger story is that Saunders was an assistant coach for the Wizards from 2009 to 2014 where he served on the late Flip Saunders’ staff from 2009 to 2011 and remained with Randy Wittman’s staff from 2011 to 2014 when Washington made the playoffs for the first time in six years. Flip Saunders was Ryan’s father.

While with the Wizards, Saunders was involved with scouting and statistical analysis. And during this time, he also worked extensively with John Wall during his early developmental years.

Saunders left the Wizards for the Timberwolves in 2014 when Flip became their Head Coach and President of Basketball Operations and became an assistant. While in Minnesota, Saunders was the head coach of their Summer League teams for three seasons.

It’s always a good thing to see how former players and coaches do in their career. And hats off to Coach Saunders for getting a big win in his debut. He’s just 32 years old and the sky is the limit for someone in his position.

The Timberwolves are 20-21 in their 2018-19 season and have a shot to make a second consecutive NBA Playoffs appearance in a stacked Western Conference if the team rallies around Saunders, who replaced Tom Thibodeau as their head coach earlier this week.