Coach Connection: T.R. Dunn

Editor’s Note: This week, profiles each of the four Wolves assistant coaches. In Part 4, T.R. Dunn talks about his years coaching for Rick Adelman in Sacramento and Houston as well as the defensive mindset he tries to implement from his playing days.

Andrea Allis
Web Editorial Associate


Although this season marks assistant coach T.R. Dunn's first with the Minnesota Timberwolves, he is no stranger to head coach Rick Adelman.

Dunn has seen a long career as both a collegiate and an NBA player and a coach at the NBA, WNBA and college levels. He has served as assistant coach for the Charlotte Hornets, the Denver Nuggets, the Charlotte Sting, the University of Alabama, the Sacramento Kings, the Houston Rockets and now the Minnesota Timberwolves. He first coached under Adelman seven years ago in Sacramento.

"I've had a great ride with him," Dunn said. "He's a tremendous coach—his record speaks for itself."

Dunn coached under Adelman for his first two of three seasons with the Kings from 2004-2006, after which he joined Adelman's staff with the Houston Rockets from 2007-2011 before following him to Minnesota for the current season with the Timberwolves.

"Coach [Adelman] has a great system; players tend to rally around the system once they get a feel for what he's looking for and trying to do, and it's happening now," Dunn said. "He has a great basketball mind as a [former] NBA player himself.

"The players love to play for him. And the bottom line is he wins. He wins games."

Throughout his 14-year career as an NBA player from 1977-1991, Dunn was considered one of the top defenders of his time. He was named to the NBA's All-Defensive Second Team three times (1983-85) and was regarded as one of the top rebounding guards throughout his career. Dunn has brought this defensive knowledge to the Timberwolves team this year, aiding in their transformation this season.

Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio, prior to his season-ending injury, had been an aggressive defender for the Timberwolves and a key offensive tool in the guard position, similar to Dunn's style of play.

"Ricky has great defensive instincts," Dunn said. "In a lot of our games, he's come up with big steals at crucial times. He's relentless."

Dunn's work with players like Rubio has undoubtedly played a part in the Wolves' transformation this season. With last season's finish of 17-65, the team has come a long way under its new leadership in just one year's time.

"I thought it would happen at some point. I felt we would make some progress and get better as a team; you just never know how soon and how fast things will come," Dunn said.

"A lot of times, you want things that come right away, and it doesn't always happen that way. But we have guys that are giving us a strong effort and they are getting better individually." Dunn said. "As a team we're getting much better."

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