The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team has agreed to terms with Tom Thibodeau as President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach, and Scott Layden as General Manager. At the very least, Minnesota should improve defensively next season with "Thibs" now in charge.
“We are extremely excited to welcome Tom Thibodeau back to the Timberwolves,” said Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor. “Through this process we quickly identified Tom as the best leader to shape our talented team and help them realize their full potential. Tom’s resume speaks for itself. He is a proven winner, leader and one of the most well-respected NBA head coaches over the last decade. His teams have annually been among the league leaders in defense and we are excited about the approach and mentality he will bring to that side of the ball."
A veteran of over 25 seasons as an NBA head coach and assistant coach, Thibodeau’s teams have advanced to the postseason in 19 seasons, including three trips to the NBA Finals (1999, 2008, 2010). Most recently Thibodeau was head coach of the Chicago Bulls, leading the Bulls to a 255-139 record over five seasons from 2010-15.
Under his tutelage, the Bulls reached the playoffs in all five seasons, including holding the best record in the NBA in both of his first two seasons (2010-12). Thibodeau is one of two coaches in NBA history to win the most games in the league in each of his first two seasons. His .647 winning percentage as head coach ranks seventh in NBA history (min. 200 games).
Thibodeau will inherit a talented young nucleus of players -- Ricky Rubio, Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine, Shabazz Muhammad, and Gorgui Dieng -- who appear to be ready to make the next leap and perhaps contend for a playoff spot next season.
Unlike in his prior position, it appears Thibodeau will have much more front office input as well.
Meanwhile, Layden brings an impressive list of basketball credentials to his general manager position, having held various front office and coaching positions in the NBA since 1981. Layden’s previous front office leadership experience includes stints with the Utah Jazz, New York Knicks and San Antonio Spurs.
Most recently Layden spent the last four seasons with the Spurs as the team’s assistant general manager. In his new role as General Manager, Layden will assist President of Basketball Operations/Head Coach Tom Thibodeau in the evaluation and acquisition of players and in the overall management of all basketball operations for the Wolves.
“Scott Layden brings over 30 years of experience in the NBA to his new role within our organization, including several years in basketball operations leadership positions with Utah, New York and most recently San Antonio. His decades of front office experience will be integral as we head into an extremely exciting time for our organization. In getting to know Scott, he has impressed me with his not only his basketball acumen, but also his character and integrity. Tom and Scott will work in concert together in shaping our roster moving forward. We are confident this partnership gives us the best chance possible of winning an NBA title.”
By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services