What’s wrong with the Minnesota Timberwolves?

Minnesota Timberwolves
(Photo by: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

I was amongst the people who envisioned the Minnesota Timberwolves having a breakout season. I thought the young core would have it together and they would contend for a playoff spot. And even though those hopes are far from being over, this hasn’t been the start that they quite hoped for.

The Timberwolves are 3-7 to start the season putting them fourth from last in the Western Conference. Andrew Wiggins has improved on the offensive end and Karl-Anthony Towns has started off right where he left off last season playing great basketball night in and night out. However, even with these improvements, they haven’t translated to wins.

Tom Thibodeau
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

There are bright spots when looking at this young Timberwolves squad. They are 6th in scoring in the league with the 4th best offensive rating at 109.9. Also, they are shooting lights out from beyond the arc leading the league in 3-point field goal percentage at 41.9%. But where things have gotten dicey are during the 3rd quarter. They are dead last in scoring in the 3rd quarter only averaging 19.1 points. In addition, they are 4th from last in scoring during the second half compared to leading the league in scoring during the first half averaging 61.7 points.

Basketball is a tale of two halves, a game of runs, and requires 48 minutes of hard work and effort. One lapse or one play taken off can change the entire outcome of a game and we’ve seen that consistently with the Minnesota Timberwolves thus far this season. Their starting point guard Ricky Rubio has witnessed the same thing and attributes it to them not learning.

Those are interesting words coming from your starting point guard but they also seem like subtle shots at their head coach, Tom Thibodeau. As a coach, one of the most frustrating things that can happen is your team coming out flat to start off a quarter. But part of that liability is on the players for not being ready as well as the coach for not having them prepared. One thing they desperately miss is that veteran leadership that can round them up and push them through tough situations like their 3rd quarter droughts. But they don’t have that and the lack of production in the 3rd quarter has been their achilles heel.

There’s no question in my mind that with this rough start to the season, Coach Thibodeau is on the hot seat. When a player comes out and says we’re not learning then you have no choice but to look at the coaching staff and question what’s going on behind closed doors. Many expected him to come in and have these guys prepared to take the next step but that just hasn’t happened. Even his strong defensive background hasn’t taken effect with this team. The Timberwolves are the 2nd worst defense in the league with a 107.4 rating and that’s something you don’t expect from a Tom Thibodeau coached team. Minnesota has a lot of learning to do and they have time with their core being so young. Maybe us as fans were too early on this team taking that leap into playoff contention.


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