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Gersson Rosas Is Going To Change Things With The Timberwolves, And You'll Feel It Fast

by Kyle Ratke, Digital Content Manager

Digital Content Manager

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Things are going to change with the Timberwolves, and chances are, you’ll feel the effects sooner rather than later.

On Monday morning, the Timberwolves introduced Gersson Rosas as the team’s new President of Basketball Operations

By now, you know Rosas’ background. He spent 17 seasons with the Rockets, rising in the organization while becoming one of the most respected “behind the scenes” front office members in the NBA. He helped orchestrate bringing James Harden, Chris Paul and Clint Capela to Houston.

No longer, however, will Rosas be in the background. He’s now the face of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

“Gersson’s going to be versatile and that’s what made him so attractive in this process,” Timberwolves CEO Ethan Casson said when the team introduced Rosas on Monday morning. “Seventeen years in the Rockets organization, you think of all the coaches he helped hire or work alongside, think of the types of players he’s had to work alongside. 

For coaches, there’s been Rudy Tomjanovich, Jeff Van Gundy, Rick Adelman, Kevin McHale and Mike D’Antoni. All of those coaches have winning records with the Rockets. As for players, the Rockets have acquired, in one way or another, players like Harden (trade), Tracy McGrady (trade), Yao Ming (draft), Paul (trade) and others.  

The Rockets have never been shy about how they acquired talent, or challenging the status quo, something that Rosas wants to start doing immediately with the Wolves.

“There’s going to be a tangible change, and this market is going to feel it,” Rosas said. “ . . . We’re going to question the norm in everything we do. We want a sustainable model that’s going to have success. We want to consistently be a winning team that gets in the playoffs and has the foundation to compete for a championship and to do something here that hasn’t been done, and that’s done collaboratively with great people and great partners. That’s a process we’re going to apply to this organization and to this market. It’s going to be a very fun process to see that come to life.”  

This is a team that has plenty of talent on it. Karl-Anthony Towns is an All-NBA caliber center and one of the most unique players in the NBA. Nobody will argue with Andrew Wiggins’ talent, although his production has taken a bit of a hit over the last two seasons. Rosas says he’ll “put every resource” towards helping Wiggins be successful, including playing in a system that could highlight more of Wiggins’ strengths. Then you add in players like Robert Covington, Dario Saric and Josh Okogie, and you understand why Rosas wanted to be part of the Timberwolves’ quest to become a franchise of the future.

Rosas knows that it takes time for players, and teams, to develop. Harden is coming off of a career-high 2,818 points, and he’s 29. Hakeem Olajuwon led Houston to two titles, the first in 1993 when he was 31 years old. Not everything will be instant, surely. But Rosas’ attitude and mindset when it comes to how he wants to improve the team will be. 

How will Rosas go about acquiring talent and improving the talent the team already has? Without hesitation, there are two words Rosas gravitates to: Creative and aggressive. 

“We’re going to be very creative,” Rosas said. “I think you’re going to see a different tone from this administration and part of it is going to be that we have to maximize every resource. Draft, free agency, trades, what we have on the roster in terms of player development. We have to be creative. Being the West, competing at this high level, there are smart organizations all over the NBA. We have to set ourselves apart by creating the best and talented roster that we can put together and that’s going to be being able to be successful with iminium contracts, being successful in the trade market, free agency wise, being strategic with the space that we have. One thing and I’ve said it earlier and I’ll say it again, we’ve got to question the norm. We’ve got to think differently. We’re not going to be successful just because we’re aggressive, but we’re going to learn every step of the way and over time, making the simple decisions right and we’re going to be able to make big decisions down the stretch.”

The goal is a championship for this team. But to get there, there first has to be a foundation of a winning culture. That’s all Rosas knows from his time Houston. But he noted that this won’t be “Houston north.” This is a new team and a new challenge.

Rosas wants to combine all of the tools available to him – trades, free agency, player development the draft – to improve this franchise.

“We’re going to explore every resource, whether it’s cap space, whether it’s sign and trades, whether it’s market trades, whatever the case may be,” Rosas said. “We’re looking at everything. We have to utilize every resource we have to maximize every opportunity. And that’s one thing Timberwolves fans show know. In this office, we’re going to be looking at everything possible to help this team next year.”

Rosas has an eye on the present and on the future, something that’s so important in today’s ever-changing NBA.

The Immediate Future

There have been questions regarding the future of interim head coach Ryan Saunders along with general manager Scott Layden.

It’s worth noting that Rosas was given no rules when it came to deciding the future for these two positions for the team. Whatever Rosas decides will be his decision.

“We went into the process with each of the candidates being pretty open-minded. It’s been well publicized, Glen’s point of view on Ryan,” Casson said. “. . .  I think everyone’s kept an open mind during the process . . . We want to make those decisions as quickly as possible.” 

Rosas echoed that sentiment and praised Saunders and Layden for a 2018-19 season that was a noisy one on many fronts.  

“From the day that Glen gave me the responsibility to evaluate the organization from top to bottom my focus has been to find partners throughout the organization that can work together so I can put them in a position to be successful so they can put us in a position to be successful,” Rosas said. “The head coaching position is a critical part of that. I'm doing my due diligence. I think Ryan and Scott have done a very commendable considering everything that happened this season. I look forward now to sitting down and visiting with them and talking about the organization. That's a major objective we want to address here sooner rather than later.” 

The NBA Draft Lottery is on May 14 and the NBA Combine in Chicago is also that week. Both Casson and Rosas hinted that they’d like to make these big decisions before then. 

It was a big day for the Timberwolves, but more so for fans who got to know Rosas a bit more. As Rosas said many times during his first press conference, actions speak louder than words. 

Get ready for some action.

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