The losses keep piling up for the Minnesota Timberwolves in the early part of the NBA season. If things do not pick up soon, the Timberwolves may seek to make some changes. It will not get any easier for them this week as they face the Golden State Warriors, Chicago Bulls, and Houston Rockets. It is already shaping up to be a difficult time for a young Timberwolves team struggling to find some consistency.
Starting off 6-17 in the first quarter of the season is not how the Minnesota Timberwolves envisioned things would be. There has been no honeymoon period between the team and Tom Thibodeau, who serves dual roles as president and head coach. This season has been filled with turmoil. Questions about effort are beginning to grow louder around the Timberwolves.
The biggest sign of evidence came after their most recent defeat — a 117-90 thrashing at the hands of the Detroit Pistons.
Indecisiveness on the defensive end was the primary culprit for the Minnesota Timberwolves’ loss. Point guard Ricky Rubio went on record to call his teammates out, courtesy of ESPN, after the blowout.
“We can accept making mistakes and [when we] don’t make shots. Playing with no heart, with no desire, it’s just awful. Right now, it’s just bad. And it seems like we didn’t care.”
Trouble on defense could possibly be coupled with a lack of focus for the Timberwolves. The relentless Tom Thibodeau refuses to give up so early.
“I’m going to keep coming. I don’t go away,” Thibodeau vowed. “I’m going to look at everything, re-examine. Something’s being missed. It’s got to change.”
Early season problems should have been expected by the Timberwolves’ coach. It is Thibodeau’s first season with a young basketball team that is learning how to win. Very few of his players have come from winning situations as professionals. Patience is definitely needed, but so are the signs of progression.
It will not be easy for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Starting with tonight’s game versus the Warriors, the Timberwolves can wind up staring at a 6-20 record by week’s end. They are a decisive 10.5 underdogs in the Warriors game. There is a strong possibility that the Timberwolves will be huge underdogs in their other two games of the week against the Bulls and Rockets.
Defensive problems will not get corrected immediately for the Timberwolves. Not with having to face the NBA’s top-two scoring offenses in the Warriors and Rockets, which sandwiches an occasionally efficient Bulls’ unit. Signs of improvement are needed before the team undergoes some possible roster turnover.
Effort on defense will eventually improve, but not until the Timberwolves stop putting their heads down and begin trusting each other. No one expects the Timberwolves to defeat the Warriors, who are smarting from suffering a blowout defeat versus the Memphis Grizzlies. In all likelihood, the Warriors will start out clicking on all cylinders, while looking to put Minnesota away early.
What needs to happen is for the Timberwolves to communicate with each other, contest shots, and play with toughness. That must take place tonight. If it does not, and the slide continues, Tom Thibodeau will make good on one the most scintillating NBA trade rumors. The report that he is willing to trade one of his young stars for a grizzled veteran, as reported by Yahoo! Sports, is becoming clearer.
Trade talks between the Timberwolves and the Lakers, and or Bulls, could begin in earnest. Most of the trade chatter involving the Timberwolves have been in regards to acquiring one of Thibodeau’s former players during his Bulls’ tenure.
An interesting situation could develop for the Minnesota Timberwolves if power forward Carlos Boozer is made available by his Chinese team.
Boozer, who played for Tom Thibodeau for four seasons with the Bulls, reportedly wants back into the NBA. Boozer is not, and never will be, regarded as a good defensive player, but he is tough around the glass. Boozer also knows what Thibodeau wants, and he could be motivated to play stout defense in an effort to stay in the league.
Taking a flier on Carlos Boozer would allow the Timberwolves to keep their young stars intact for the foreseeable future.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are expected to struggle for now. They can show some signs of life by just exhibiting some effort on defense. A difficult week begins for the Timberwolves, starting with the Golden State Warriors. Changes are certain to take place for the Minnesota Timberwolves; what type of changes will depend on how they handle the Warriors, as well as the rest of the week.
[Featured Image by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images]