The Minnesota Timberwolves apparently liked what they saw from Ryan Saunders in the second half of the season and have made him their next head coach.
The Timberwolves struck a deal with Saunders that stripped the "interim" label from his head coach status. Minnesota reportedly discussed the position with other candidates but ultimately decided to stay in-house and give the job to Saunders.
"I'm pleased to announce Ryan Saunders as our head coach," newly hired president of basketball operations, Gersson Rosas, said. "Ryan is an excellent communicator and has developed open and trusting relationships with our players. I've known Ryan for many years and have always respected his approach to the game, work ethic, basketball knowledge and passion."
With the promotion, the 33-year-old Saunders became the youngest head coach in the NBA.
Saunders took over the Timberwolves on an interim basis in January after head coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau was fired. Saunders coached the final 42 games of the season, finishing with a record of 17–25.
He might be young but Saunders has a decade of coaching experience on his resume already. He served as an assistant coach for the Wizards from 2009-2014 before joining the Timberwolves, where he was an assistant from 2014 up until Thibodeau's dismissal. In addition, Saunders was endorsed for the job by many Wolves players, including their most important one, Karl-Anthony Towns.
Saunders' father, the late Flip Saunders, was a well-respected coach who spent 20 years on NBA sidelines, including two separate stints as coach of the Timberwolves.