The Minnesota Timberwolves gave him his first coaching opportunity in 1996. Saunders led the team to eight consecutive playoff appearances. He specialized in coaching point guards, but had his greatest impact on a young forward named Kevin Garnett, as Garnett developed into one of the NBA’s best and won an MVP award.
After the T-Wolves fired him in 2005, the Detroit Pistons came calling and hired him in 2006. In the three seasons he was in the Motor City, the Pistons made it to the Conference Finals all three times.
He went on to the Washington Wizards, and then returned to the T-Wolves in 2013 as part owner and president. He returned as coach of the team the following season.
He coached 50+ win teams seven times, most notably a Pistons team that won a franchise record 64. Twice Saunders has coached in the All-Star Game and won a gold medal at the 2001 Goodwill Games.
Saunders was surrounded by his wife and four children, including his son Ryan, who is a Wolves assistant coach. We here at The Athletes Hub would like to extend our condolences to the Saunders family and the Timberwolves organization.