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For Scott Layden, Great Basketball Starts With Great People

by Cody Sharrett

With well over 30 years of NBA experience, Scott Layden is the elder statesman of the Minnesota Timberwolves Front Office.

Entering his fifth season as General Manager, Layden has earned respect throughout league after successful stints with the Utah Jazz, New York Knicks, and San Antonio Spurs. In Layden’s time overseeing player personnel in Utah, the Jazz compiled five consecutive 50-plus win seasons and NBA Finals appearances in 1997 and 1998. As General Manager and then Team President for the Knicks, Layden helped lead New York to two playoff berths and an appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals in over four seasons on the job. Before joining the Timberwolves, Layden spent four seasons with Spurs as Assistant General Manager, highlighted by the 2014 NBA Finals win over the Miami Heat.

“I've known Scott for a good while,” Assistant GM Joe Branch says of Layden. “[He’s] very knowledgeable and just a wealth of knowledge. From him, we learn a different perspective, on certain guys we’re able to go back to other drafts that he's been a part of and learn resourceful insights and helpful knowledge.”

Layden’s experience lends one of many voices of perspectives in the vastly diverse Wolves Front Office. The upcoming 2020 NBA Draft is far from Layden’s first rodeo, and President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas values Layden’s viewpoint in assessing Minnesota’s options with the No. 1, 17, and 33 picks on November 18.

“My role in the draft process is one of support,” Layden says. “I think what I do is try to support the scouts, try to support management and Gersson in preparing for the draft and trades that will help make the team better.

“I look at it as an opportunity to share experience, and share hard work, and help the brilliant minds of this organization.”

In preparing for the Draft, Layden and the rest of the Wolves Basketball Operations staff have spent long days and hours over the past few months evaluating the 2020 class top-to-bottom. The collaboration among the Front Office has been the most important aspect of developing a plan for Draft Night.

“That's where [Rosas] gets an A++, is in the hiring of great people and people that you want to go to work with and share your time with,” Layden explains. “I was fortunate in my career -- this is my 38th year in the NBA -- but for 25 of those years, I had the opportunity to work with my dad. And we still have an unbelievable relationship, but when you're working day to day in a business that you enjoy going to work with every day, it's so critical that you... The people you're spending time with that you enjoy, and you want to pull for each other to make the organization better.

“I think that's Gersson's genius.”

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