The newly reminted Iowa Wolves will begin its fresh start in the 2017-18 G League season with a veteran presence manning the sideline in new head coach Scott Roth. Roth is not a stranger to coaching in the G League as he may be remembered for his coaching stint with the Bakersfield Jam in 2008.
The former Wisconsin Badger forward logged over 150 games of NBA experience in his playing career and served nearly two decades as an assistant coach for 5 different NBA teams. That quintet of NBA squads included the Dallas Mavericks (1997-2000), Memphis Grizzlies (2000-2002), Golden State Warriors (2009-11), Toronto Raptors (2010-13) and Detroit Pistons (2013-14).
Even when he was outside of the NBA, Roth had the opportunity to coach some terrific young bigs. During the 2014-15 season, Roth was hired as the head coach at Club Baloncesto Sevilla in the Spanish Liga ACB where he briefly worked with Kristaps Porzingis and WIlly Hernangomez. Although Roth was only there for about two months due to issues with his coaching license, he still made an impact to that duo. In a Feburary interview with NY Post, Roth mentioned that he was incredibly hard on Porzingis’ defense while also thinking that Hernangomez was underrated when he was playing alongside Kristaps.
Over the course of that time, Roth was routinely looked at to help develop their team’s young front-court talent. He definitely did a great job at that as his tutelage helped push the likes of Dirk Nowitzki and Pau Gasol to evolve themselves from being young rookies to potential NBA Hall-of-Famers. In more recent years, Roth also worked with Porzingis, Andre Drummond, Hernangomez and Jonas Valancuinas. In a introductory press conference on Wednesday, Roth went in depth about his experience coaching some of those great bigs.
"It's kind of funny, when I played my whole career I was a multi-dimensional player, but I never was a big player, as far as a center or a power forward," Roth said in an introductory conference call on Wednesday. "I'd been a wing and an off guard and I played some point guard in my career. I don't why, but when I got to Dallas with Nellie (Don Nelson) for my first job, I picked Dirk Nowitzki up at the airport and from that point on, I kind of stayed with the bigger players and have been fortunate enough to be in Memphis when Shane Battier and Pau was there and I lived with Pau for the whole season.
"I've just been lucky to be around a lot of good players, most of them big: (Andrea) Bargnani in Toronto and Amir Johnson and (Jonas) Valanciunas in Toronto, Andre Drummond in Detroit. So I've just been around those kind of guys and gravitated to that area and I really enjoy it. Not that I can't work with smaller players, but that's kind of been my niche, I would say for right now.
In Iowa, Roth may get familiar with new additions to the Wolves organization 2017 first round pick center Justin Patton, former Lakers, Magic, & Pelicans wing Anthony Brown, and former Orlando Magic wing Marcus Georges-Hunt. The three talents seem likely to feature heavily in the Iowa Wolves’ gameplan early in the 2017-18 G League season. While each member of that trio has some importance to the Timberwolves organization, Patton undoubtedly stands as the most crucial prospect due to his status as the 16th pick in this year’s NBA Draft.
The importance of Patton’s development is probably the main reason as to why Roth was named as the head coach for the Iowa Wolves. For a young prospect that will probably spend the majority of his rookie season in the G League, it definitely makes sense for them to bring in someone that has experience working with young bigs. Roth is definitely the perfect man for that job as he helped develop future Hall-of-Famers. While it’s way too early to say that Patton will join the ranks of that duo, he’ll have a golden opportunity to work with one of the best front-court teachers that the game of basketball has.