Timberwolves Dismiss NBA Award Results, Criticize Thunder

Timberwolves stir controversy with social media post.

by Nouman Rasool
Timberwolves Dismiss NBA Award Results, Criticize Thunder
© Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

The 2023-24 NBA Coach of the Year title was awarded to Oklahoma City Thunder’s Mark Daigneault following an overwhelming majority vote, but the Minnesota Timberwolves have subtly expressed their disagreement over the decision.

Mark Daigneault, in his fourth season at the helm of the Thunder, led his squad to a remarkable 57-25 record, clinching the top seed in the Western Conference and marking their first playoff appearance since 2020. This achievement made his team the youngest ever to secure a No.

1 seed in any conference in NBA history. The victory came with an impressive tally of 89 out of 99 possible first-place votes, significantly ahead of the Orlando Magic’s Jamahl Mosley and Timberwolves’ Chris Finch, who finished second and third, respectively.

Coaches across the league also echoed this sentiment, voting Daigneault as Coach of the Year. During an interview on TNT’s “Inside the NBA,” Daigneault highlighted the unique spirit of his team. “I've used the word uncommon with this team all year, and the reason I think they're so uncommon is they have incredible ambition,” he said.

“They care about their individual careers, they work hard individually, but they also really appreciate each other's success and they root for each other, they're behind each other and we've done everything together all year”.

Timberwolves' Subtle Shade

However, the Timberwolves’ response to the accolade came through a not-so-subtle jab on social media platform X. They posted an image of their point guard Mike Conley Jr. sporting a sweatshirt adorned with “Finchy” and the face of their own coach, Chris Finch, paired with the caption: “s/o to our Coach of the Year”.

The move sparked a flurry of online debates, with fans accusing the Timberwolves of jealousy and imitation. A notable response included an image of the Thunder’s Jalen Williams wearing a similar shirt dedicated to Daigneault, prompting remarks about the Timberwolves’ attempt to hijack the Thunder’s camaraderie symbolized by their ‘Dawg’ moniker—a term the Thunder players have adopted during post-game celebrations this season.

Compounding Minnesota’s challenges, Chris Finch is slated for surgery on his right patellar tendon following an on-court incident involving Conley and Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker during Game 4 of their playoff series.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Finch’s recovery timeline is uncertain, casting doubt on his availability for the upcoming Western Conference semifinals against the Denver Nuggets. The unfolding drama adds another layer to the competitive nature of the NBA, not just in games but also in the battle for recognition and honors among its coaches and teams.

As the playoffs progress, the tension between these two teams could well be something to watch, both on and off the court.