Ryan Saunders: Summer League laid groundwork for what Wolves want to be

Published 8:07 am Wednesday, July 17, 2019

By Michael Rand

Star Tribune

Las Vegas re-branded itself sometime in my early adult life as a 21-plus paradise of debauchery and excess — punctuated by one of the all-time great PR campaign slogans, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”

Email newsletter signup

I’ve been to Sin City many times and love it very much, but in my estimation 48 hours is about the perfect amount of time to be there.

Timberwolves head coach Ryan Saunders, by contrast, had been in Vegas for the better part of two weeks when I talked to him Monday night.

The occasion for the extended stay was a positive — it meant the Summer League Wolves, who started play July 5, had kept playing all the way to the championship game, where they fell Monday to Memphis — but the coach sounded like he had a bit of a basketball hangover.

“I was there the entire time (for Summer League) and three days of free agency in Los Angeles before that,” said Saunders, who spent the time evaluating players and meeting with new assistant coaches while one of those assistants, Pablo Prigioni, ran the Summer League team. “I’m ready to go home. So ready.”

What he brings back to Target Center remains to be seen, but this much is certain: A lot of things the Summer Wolves did in going 6-1 can be construed as the seeds of what Saunders and the rest of the Timberwolves’ brain trust would like to see extended to the full NBA squad this fall and winter.

In other words, contrary to that catchy slogan, Saunders doesn’t want what happened in Vegas to stay in Vegas.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.