MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Meet the youngest one-two management punch in the NBA: new Head Coach Ryan Saunders and new President of Basketball Gersson Rosas.

“We are the youngest duo. While some will see that as a challenge, we see that as an opportunity,” Rosas said. “We want to do things that haven’t been done.”

That’s part of Saunders’s agenda: To do things differently, and to do things with his own vision.

“There’s going to be changes. There will be no simple changes I think in the way we play, both offensively and defensively,” Saunders said. “I want to see changes in the way we approach things, too. I want things to be different. I want things to be high energy.”

But Tuesday was also about reflection of the father who shaped him.

“I need to recognize someone who’s unable to be here in the physical form. But I know [former Wolves Coach Flip Saunders] is here and he’s looking down, and I know he’d say that there’s no place else he’d rather have me get my start,” Saunders said.

Ryan Saunders (credit: CBS)

Now he needs to lock in with the players, starting with the key cogs.

“I’m proud of [Saunders], you know, because I’ve been with him on this whole journey. You know, I’ve seen the ups and the downs,” said Wolves forward Andrew Wiggins. “And to see this day come, you know, it feels good.”

And allow Karl-Anthony Towns to start to lead, to carry his message, to be one who buys in.

“[Saunders is] one of the best communicators, understands how important relationships are with his players, understands to be creative,” Towns said.

Because now it’s about “X”s and “O”s, but winning for Saunders is about winning over a locker room — and the rest will follow.

“They know who is making the final decisions, but they also need to know that the person who’s making those final decisions is making them for the betterment of the team, and not for other agendas or other reasons,” Saunders said. “They have to believe that. The belief of that is big.”

Mike Max

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