Known as an offensive coach, Saunders was quick to point out the importance of defense, something the Wizards have shown a lack of commitment to. Saunders said his playbook consists of 60 percent defensive plays, and 40 percent offensive plays.
â€œYou have to defend to win in this league. Defense will be a priority,â€ Saunders said.
Saunders got a look at the Wizards up close during training camp last year, when he spent time working with the team, and expressed his belief in the importance of team chemistry.
â€œAny successful team is a melting pot that brings together all types of personalities. Players, as well as coaches, have to be willing to listen,â€ Saunders said. Saunders has a career record of 587-396 during an NBA coaching career that spans 12-and-a-half seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Detroit Pistons. Saunders did not coach last season, and said that the time away made him â€œthirsty to win a championship.â€
Wizards new head coach Flip Saunders becomes the 22nd head coach in franchise history. â€œI wanted to go somewhere where there is an opportunity to have success,â€ Saunders said. Photo by CD Brownâ€œWe were looking for experience. We felt that Flip was the whole package,â€ Grunfeld said. â€œWe feel that this is a new beginning for our organization. He has been a winner in the playoffs, he is a good fit for the type of team we have and the brand of basketball we play. He will bring us back to where we feel we belong,â€ Grunfeld said.
Pollin, the NBAâ€™s longest tenured owner having owned the Bullets/Wizards franchise for 45 years, expressed excitement at Saunders arrival.
â€œWe have brought a winner here to D.C., Pollin said. â€œWe are ready to win a championship.â€