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Minnesota’s new front office is creative, and that’s a great thing

The Minnesota Timberwolves made another addition to the revamped front office on Tuesday morning when it was reported that the team hired Sachin Gupta as the new Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations.

In other words, Gupta is going to be the right-hand man for new President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas. He continues the trend that Rosas wants to set with his whole ‘question the norm’ mantra that’s been uttered numerous times since Rosas took over the job.

Gupta worked with Rosas in Houston and under Sam Hinke in Philadelphia prior to taking the assistant general manager job in Detroit prior to last season. While the Pistons have, for the most part, operated in a traditional manner – and it’s unfair to expect the assistant general manager to turn things upside down in his first year on the job – the first two organizations that Gupta worked for were revolutionary.

The way Philadelphia rebuilt drew plenty of ire across the game of basketball. The team trusted in the process of finishing four straight seasons with less than 30 wins, including a 10-72 campaign in 2015-16. They did that to try and maximize the potential for the top overall draft pick.

That part of Philadelphia’s rebuild isn’t something fans should expect to see in Minnesota anytime soon, but some of the other things that Philadelphia did certainly could be seen with the Wolves.

There were quite a few complex trades – one that even could have benefited the Sixers with a draft pick this year had the ping pong balls in the lottery bounced differently – that Philadelphia pulled off to stockpile assets. They were done in a very creative manner, and Gupta was a big part of that. That’s an area the Wolves must become stronger in as they retool. It’s something that should start this summer, too.

Gupta is a great asset to have in that manner, aside from the trades that he’s helped to pull off, he’s been able to determine which players on other teams have untapped value, and he’s helped to do it better than the organizations they played for.

Speaking of creativity, everyone in the basketball world is seemingly aware of ESPN’s Trade Machine. It’s a fun way for most to plug in their own scenarios they would like to see come to life and find out if it’s actually possible in the real basketball world.

Gupta is the one credited with the creation of the tool. It’s one that Wolves fans will be using quite a bit, if Gupta has any say in it.

Adding Gupta to a front office that already featured Rosas and Gianluca Pascucci is definitely a step in the right direction. Pascucci was brought over from Brooklyn, which is another organization that’s done a terrific job of building in smart, creative ways.

The hiring of those two means that current general manager Scott Layden won’t hold as much power as he once did. It’s very possible that he still remains with the organization in some capacity – maybe even with his current title – but there’s no doubt he’s moved down a couple of notches in terms of organizational power.

Keeping Layden around isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The whole ‘questioning the norm’ way of Rosas will probably work well with as many qualified voices in the room as he would like. If Layden is one of them, so be it.

This organization hasn’t done many things the way that those other organizations have, and that’s going to change. The Wolves have done a terrific job putting smart people in place to right the ship. It’s still going to take time, but these moves are certainly worthy of getting excited about.


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