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What to know about Timberwolves assistant coach Micah Nori


It takes a village to win an NBA championship, and the Timberwolves are embodying that mentality on the court and on the sidelines as they pursue their first title. 

Head coach Chris Finch ushered in an era of success after he took the reins of the Timberwolves in 2021, but he won’t be front-and-center as Minnesota tries to reach the Western Conference Finals for only the second time in franchise history. A serious knee injury has relegated Finch to the back of the Timberwolves’ bench and pushed assistant coach Micah Nori into the spotlight, forcing the organization to emphasize teamwork more than ever before.

Finch remains in his role as head coach, but with his knee immobilized, Nori is handling physical duties, including roaming the sidelines and calling timeouts for the time being.

Here’s what you need to know about Nori, including his coaching history and eccentric in-game interviews. 

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Nori is Finch’s top assistant coach in Minnesota. He joined the Timberwolves ahead of the 2021-22 season, which was Finch’s first full season with the franchise after a midseason hiring in February 2021.

Nori and Finch had a prior connection, as they both worked under Michael Malone with the Nuggets during the 2016-17 season. Nori is a protege of Malone and Dwane Casey, as he worked under Malone in both Sacramento and Denver between stints under Casey in Toronto and Detroit. Nori was a Pistons assistant coach before joining Minnesota.

The 50-year-old assistant is perhaps best known for hilarious in-game interviews before jumping into the spotlight in the wake of Finch’s injuries, which tells you he likely won’t take himself too seriously even in this expanded role.

Nori was born and raised in Middletown, Ohio, and he played baseball at Indiana University before switching to basketball and landing a job as an assistant intern with the Raptors. He worked his way through the ranks in Toronto and got his first opportunity as an assistant coach under Jay Triano before Casey decided to keep him on the staff in 2011.

Nori has spent the last 15 years as an NBA assistant coach, after a stretch with the Raptors that included time as an intern and, later, an advance scout.

Initially an assistant under Triano, Nori was kept on the staff under Casey before leaving to join Malone’s staff in Sacramento in 2013. Nori and Malone first met when Malone was an assistant with the Warriors.

Nori stayed on the Kings’ bench after Malone’s firing but followed Malone to Denver in the offseason, sticking with the Nuggets until Casey put together a new staff as head coach of the Pistons. It was in Denver that Nori spent a season working with Finch, focusing on the Nuggets’ offense.

Finch had the unique circumstance of landing his first full-time head coaching role midseason, but he brought Nori aboard in the offseason when he was finally able to put together a staff of his own.

Finch suffered a torn patellar tendon in a sideline collision with Mike Conley near the end of the Timberwolves’ series-clinching win over the Suns in the first round.

Conley was fouled by Phoenix’s Devin Booker and didn’t regain control before he crashed into Finch, knocking the 54-year-old to the ground. Finch needed help to walk back to the locker room, and he underwent surgery to repair the rupture three days later.

MORE: Full details on Chris Finch’s knee injury

While Finch is able to travel with the Timberwolves, he isn’t able to put any weight on his leg for at least two weeks and requires crutches to walk. Manning the sideline isn’t an option for Finch, and it likely won’t be possible at any point during the playoffs. Nori has been assigned more physically demanding duties, including calling timeouts and instructing players on the court.

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