Wolves Lead

Post-Thibodeau Era Seeks New Identity


The Minnesota Timberwolves are sitting in a tough spot. Even after winning back-to-back games against Orlando and a sans-LeBron Lakers team, they parted ways with head coach Tom Thibodeau and proceeded to beat Oklahoma City 119-117 with Ryan Saunders at the helm.

With early season struggles, the T-Wolves traded away Jimmy Butler for Robert Covington and Dario Saric. They followed that by winning seven of the next ten games, finding themselves back in .500 land (11-11). It seemed that Minnesota had solved their chemistry and their defense.

December Struggles

But since the beginning of December, however, they have gone 9-10 overall and 4-7 on the road. The Timberwolves are only two games out of a playoff spot, but with the West clearly being the far more competitive conference, it will be difficult for the Wolves to solidify a spot. Minnesota has just a +0.6 point differential after their last three games despite by winning by a combined 41 points. The Timberwolves are only 10-8 vs teams below .500. If a team struggles both on the road and vs teams below .500 they typically don’t make the playoffs.

Focus is Back on Towns and Wiggins

The rest of this year may be about developing Karl-Anthony Towns and seeing what they truly have  with him and Andrew Wiggins. Towns has averaged 27.3 points, 16.0 rebounds, 2.5 blocks, and is shooting 53.9% in his last eight games. He has also made some monster dunks and blocks, including this posterizing dunk over JaVale McGee.


Wiggins had an amazing stat line at Oklahoma City with 40 points, 10 rebounds and four assists while shooting 16/18 from the charity stripe. Hopefully, Wiggins can be close to this type of player under Coach Saunders because Wiggins has been having his least efficient season.

The T-Wolves are in a tough spot of not making the playoffs and also not having a high lottery pick. It’s too late in the season to tank, but not too late to make some changes. Minnesota could elect to dump expiring contracts — a la Taj Gibson — to gain some future assets.

It is appearing like last year’s playoff appearance was the aberration and this year’s mediocrity is the norm.


About Kevyn Drago

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