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Minnesota Timberwolves Assistant GM Rob Babcock on Head Coach Search, and Development of Rookies

Minnesota Timberwolves Assistant General Manager Rob Babcock joined Jeff Thurn on Wednesday’s edition of Overtime on ESPN 99.1.

Babcock on his initial reaction from an front office perspective on Adam Silver’s decision to ban Donald Sterling: 

“Well, I was very with pleased with our commissioner and the entire management level people with ownership and so forth. They did the right thing, and they are going to continue following up with quite a few other things as well.”

Thurn asks Babcock if it was shocking when he heard Silver say, ‘Banned for life,?’

“You know, a little bit. I wasn’t sure exactly. I knew he was going to get some type of ban, but for life, keep in mind, he’s 81 years old. So, how long is that? If he was 55, but 81, I don’t know how long that is, but the thing he I was most impressed with, was he did what he had to do, he took it to the highest level he was able to take it to under the bylaws of the league and that was what needed to be done.”

Babcock on where the Timberwolves are with their head coach opening:

“Well, Flip’s (Saunders) not going to make a rushed decision, but he’s been very active, and he’s working hard. He wants to make sure he gets the right fit. This is an extremely important hire, and needs to find somebody that has the same philosophy as he does and that they will be able to work well together and I’m certain he will do that. It’s a very, very important step moving forward for our franchise.”

Babcock on if Flip Saunders has had any interest in coaching the Timberwolves himself? 

“I talked to him that immediately. That’s not something he wants to do. He wants to, and like I said, you would never say never, it would have to be a special situation for that to happen. I really think he enjoyed this year getting a different perspective and a different job description and a different challenge for him. So, he had a great coaching career, and I’m not saying he wouldn’t do it. I don’t know. I can’t answer that, and only Flip can answer that, and Glen Taylor can answer that.”

Babcock’s assessment of Gorgui Dieng and Shabazz Muhammad after their rookie seasons:

“I think they both fortunately had opportunities. Coach Adelman has never been one to be real anxious to play rookies, and certainly has a lot to do with that philosophy, but we were happy to see them eventually get their opportunities and then they were both ready and prepared when that happened. I think they both have bright futures. Gorgui was able to step in with the injuries to Pek and Ronny Turiaf and prove that he can rebound in the league and defend in the league. He also showed that he has a lot of offensive ability, which he showed in college and one of the reasons we drafted him and really wanted him. Shabazz is not as far a long as Gorgui. Gorgui played a lot more college basketball, which is something we like to see all players do more of and he’s a great example of how quickly he can make that example. Shabazz has much more to learn, as he only played one year of college basketball, but he really worked hard this year and is developing his overall game. Learning to play defense, move without the basketball and make plays for other people.”

To hear more of Babcock’s interview with Thurn, listen below:

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**For story ideas, or comments, email Sam at and follow him on Twitter @samtastad.**

Catch Thurn weekday’s on ESPN 99.1 in Sioux Falls from 3 to 6 p.m.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images Sport


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