For Gersson Rosas, On-Court Success Starts With Front Office Chemistry

by Cody Sharrett

Behind every great team is another great team.

Before evaluating and changing the Minnesota Timberwolves’ on the court product, President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas had to assemble a supporting front office that could strategically work together to turn the Timberwolves franchise into a winning team.

“My job on a day-to-day basis is not only to have a vision for our basketball operations department, but to make sure that that vision is being fulfilled day in and day out,” Rosas says. “Whether it's building the team with players or building our basketball operations group with staff, it's important to establish the principles that are a big part of our philosophy.”

Rosas, who spent 16 seasons in various positions within the Houston Rockets’ front office, has constructed the league’s most diverse front office staff with wide-ranging expertise and track records of success in the NBA.

At Rosas’ right hand is Executive Vice President Sachin Gupta. Gupta spent time with the Philadelphia 76ers, Houston Rockets, and Detroit Pistons front offices before coming to Minnesota last summer. The MIT grad is the new-age analytics and salary cap expert on the Wolves staff, and most notably for NBA fans, he developed ESPN’s hugely popular Trade Machine.

As General Manager, Scott Layden brings over 30 years of experience with the Utah Jazz, New York Knicks, and San Antonio Spurs. With the Wolves since 2016, Layden’s experience and eye for talent has proven invaluable to the organization. Assistant General Manager Gianluca Pascucci oversees operations of Minnesota’s G League affiliate Iowa Wolves, in addition to leading scouting efforts on all levels following stints in the Houston Rockets and Brooklyn Nets front offices. Fellow Assistant GM Joe Branch brings decades of experience from the player representations side, most recently working with Roc Nation Sports. Entering his 11th season with the Timberwolves, Manny Rohan lends his NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement and administrative expertise as Assistant GM. Finally, Dr. Robby Sikka makes all aspect of player health and safety a priority as Vice President of Basketball Performance and Technology.

“I can't follow anybody's template or prototype,” Rosas says of assembling his staff. “I have to be who I am and my background, my experiences, my values, my priorities they make who I am and a big part of that is this family and people. And the ability to do it as a family, with a diverse group of individuals --and not just diversity in terms of background or race, it's experience and profiles. I'm a big believer, one person doesn't do this, you need a great team to be able to have success at the highest levels. And a big part of it is understanding your blind spots. I'm not going to see everything. I don't know everything, so surrounding myself with talented individuals that can help address those weaknesses that I have, or the blind spots that I have is going to make us greater as a whole.”

Gupta agrees: “Gersson is a terrific leader. He's put together an unbelievable team, and he makes sure that everyone is aligned and we're all swimming in the same direction. He's created an incredible environment here.”

Much like the on-the-court product, the front office needs a certain chemistry level to thrive. Rosas hopes that camaraderie translates into unprecedented success in Minnesota.

“To me, the passion for the job and what we do is about building a championship organization,” Rosas says. “And you do that by building a team on the floor and you build a team off the floor and the ability to day-in and day-out, have that focus -- to have that mission --is something that I value and enjoy. The ability to be elbow-to-elbow with your head coach, with your front office, with your scouts, with your trainers, with your players: those are invaluable experiences working to do something that's never been done here in Minneapolis with the Timberwolves, and to bring a championship here. That's a mission that motivates you and it lights you up.

“The ability to do that with such a great group, the ability to do something that hasn't been done here excites me and gets my passion going every day.”

Rosas has assembled a championship-caliber team off the court, now the focus shifts to building championship team on the court.

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