In His First Game As Interim Coach, The Son Of The Late, Great Flip Saunders Didn't Fall Far From The Tree In Adding A Hard Fought Win To His Resume
Awesome. Just so damn awesome. I wish I had a more eloquent word, but I'm not even sure there's a more accurate way to describe Ryan Saunders following in the first few footsteps of his fallen father, Flip Saunders, as the legacy to one of the most beloved coaches in NBA history. In the wake of as cool a moment as you could possible experience immediately following the firing of your head coach, a team that's been as tumultuous as the Timberwolves actually has been me questioning whether nepotism gets a worse rap than it deserves.
Of course, the answer is obviously irrelevant, as Ryan Saunders is clearly qualified and respected beyond his years regardless of the legendary loins he's a product of. Still, him confidently leading a professional team full of his peers to victory at the age of 32 was made as tear-jerking as it was impressive by the fact that it came in the building for which his father's memory hangs eternally.
The smile that shot across his face as the clock hit zero on his first head coaching victory was a picture of pure happiness. The reverence in his voice as he talked about starting his career as a superintendent of the sideline by drawing up his dad's favorite play was instantly recognizable. From the court to the locker room, the excitement and energy we saw from the players was unlike anything we've seen from a roster who last came together to cower in fear of Jimmy Butler. Ryan Saunders galvanized a Timberwolves' team that was in desperate need of a emotional reboot, and - in doing so - he created an unforgettable memory for himself, his family, the entire organization for which they'll forever hold a kinship, and its fans. We'll see if he can continue hitting the ground running under the interim tag, but no matter what Minnesota's immediate future holds, they'll always have the night in which they did Flip as proud as he would be of his son. And what an awesome night it was.