All Things 2021-2022 Minnesota Timberwolves In-Season Thread

coolhandgopher

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Whoa. The Ben Simmons 'return' to Philly is already blowing up. Per media reports, the coach asked Simmons to take part in a defensive drill, and Simmons refused. so they told him to leave practice. later announced that Simmons has been suspended for 1 game for 'conduct detrimental to the franchise' or something like that.

There is no way Philly can have Simmons on their roster this season. If that means giving him away, they have to give him away. We'll see if Gupta can dial up his Trade Machine and figure out a way to get it done without giving away the farm.
Seems like Simmons learned something from his season with Jimmy Butler. How ironic if it forces a trade to Minnesota.
 

saintpaulguy

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Whoa. The Ben Simmons 'return' to Philly is already blowing up. Per media reports, the coach asked Simmons to take part in a defensive drill, and Simmons refused. so they told him to leave practice. later announced that Simmons has been suspended for 1 game for 'conduct detrimental to the franchise' or something like that.

There is no way Philly can have Simmons on their roster this season. If that means giving him away, they have to give him away. We'll see if Gupta can dial up his Trade Machine and figure out a way to get it done without giving away the farm.
 

TruthSeeker

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Whoa. The Ben Simmons 'return' to Philly is already blowing up. Per media reports, the coach asked Simmons to take part in a defensive drill, and Simmons refused. so they told him to leave practice. later announced that Simmons has been suspended for 1 game for 'conduct detrimental to the franchise' or something like that.

There is no way Philly can have Simmons on their roster this season. If that means giving him away, they have to give him away. We'll see if Gupta can dial up his Trade Machine and figure out a way to get it done without giving away the farm.
This is how you force the issue.

The GM can't hold the line on asking price. Simmons will destroy the team.
 

Iceland12

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Simmons has been vocal about wanting to go West. Pacific Coast, West I'd bet.

His agent is Rich Paul. He's a buddy/partner of LeBron and he helped force Anthony Davis to LA. Below is his client list. His T-Wolves player is Anthony Edwards. Wouldn't be surprised if he's trying to get both Simmons and Edwards to Staples in Lakers jerseys. Absurd right? Just like getting Simmons here. :giggle:





 

BleedGopher

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Neal: A successful Timberwolves season? Let's start with drama-free and go from there

Opening tipoff can't come soon enough for this hot mess of a franchise which, by the way, is being sold to Mark Lore and Alex Rodriguez through a unique layaway plan that will put them in charge by 2023. The Wolves might be ready to win by then.

It's tantalizing to imagine how much better Anthony Edwards will be after he averaged 19.3 points a game in 2020-21. He's grown an inch, wants to play defense and might have to take over this team if Towns gives up on the process.

It's encouraging to hear Towns express a desire to make the Wolves a winner after the club has posted a .398 winning percentage during his first six seasons.

It's tempting to expect a much better 2021-22 season with Edwards, Towns and D'Angelo Russell on the court together after only being in the same starting lineup eight times in 2020-2021.

Malik Beasley, who spent 78 days in jail during the offseason for making threats of violence, provides scoring from the perimeter. Taurean Prince can shoot the three and defend. Naz Reid is not a shabby backup center. Patrick Beverley looks to be a glue-and-grit guy coming off the bench.

But this team has warts. Everyone is going to have to help out Towns with rebounding. And they must prove they really are committed on defense. The Wolves ranked 28th in defensive efficiency last season. They were 9-44 when giving up more than 110 points.

This roster needs to stay under the grow lamp without interference. This Opening Night is not about wondering how many games the Wolves can win, it's about hoping an organization can get through a season with little turbulence and lots of development.


Howl Wolves!!
 


BleedGopher

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Q&A with Timberwolves coach Chris Finch: 'We just try to roll with the punches'​


Q: Related to the defense, you said last spring, over the summer you had to figure out Karl-Anthony Towns' role in the pick and roll. What did you learn?

Finch:
Well, we found that he was pretty good there at the level and when he had played there previously we found he was pretty good in switch situations, but we didn't want to expose him to that as a base defense. It was just about trying to alleviate that pressure of people coming downhill all night on him, put him in unnecessary foul trouble at times. He's actually had pretty decent rim protection numbers …

I've said this before, but I don't think the Minnesota Timberwolves' defensive issues were Karl's alone. I still don't believe that. We just wanted to try and do a couple things to protect him.

Q: How much of your defensive success this year is on Karl in that sense and what he's able to do at the top, and how much is designed to give him help?

Finch:
Our defensive success is going to be related to Karl staying on the floor and being a plus defender or neutral defender. But most of it is our team defense. We have to be better with our low man help, covering the rim with our rotations. We have to be better with our scramble around, shot contests and all the little things. … If we can make small gains, as we told our team preseason, our pathway to a better defense is marginal gains across the most significant areas.

Q: What are those areas?

Finch:
Transition, eliminate our fouling or reduce it and rebounding. If you look at those three play types, from an offensive point of view, they're the three most efficient play type starts. Teams that score in transition score at a higher rate. Free throws are big and then offensive rebounds. So even if we got back and we're not a great half-court defense, but we make them play in the half court more, we're going to win that small battle, even if they're making shots against us. They're not going to make shots at the rate they do in transition.

Q: Offensively, I feel like we in the media are taking it for granted that it'll be fine. What could we see that's maybe different?

Finch:
Offensively we're maybe a little bit behind where we thought we'd be right now probably because we just put a lot of effort on the defense and we felt we had a pretty good foundation offensively. But maybe a couple steps behind. I'd like to just figure out, like the two bigs is good, but that's not kind of clicking like it should. We need to find a way to take advantage of the matchups and mismatches a little better in the game flow with that. I think probably develop a little bit more of a complete package for Anthony [Edwards]. So he's kind of not like going through the game looking for opportunities. Maybe direct the ball more to him. Opportunities to post D'Angelo [Russell] for his playmaking down there. Then continue to experiment with KAT. Just move him around and continue to play him more like a guard as well as a big. When you have a guy like that, it's a lot of fun. Last year, I didn't get a chance to push the envelope there.

One thing we'll probably be is a little bit more prepared in special situations. End of games, end of quarter. All the little strategic pieces where you can ring out those advantages. We brought [assistant] Micah Nori in. He's outstanding in that field. Other than being the lead assistant, his primary focus at the team level is winning all these small battles.


Howl Wolves!!
 

BleedGopher

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The subtle strength of Anthony Edwards: ‘Never stop, never quit, keep going’

So much of Anthony Edwards is overwhelming. The way that he elevates first and asks questions later as he soars to the rim. The way that, even at 19 years old, he could put a shoulder into Andre Drummond’s chest and move him out of the way like the 280-pound center was a tackling dummy on a Pop Warner practice field back home in Atlanta.

When the game is over, he turns the interview room into his personal playground, where his comedic timing frolics with an undeniable charisma to make his personality dance like the diamonds in his ear.

He wears No. 1 to let everyone know where he stands. He posts Instagram stories of him rapping exuberantly to Lil Baby while his girlfriend drives an electric blue Lamborghini, and he dunks opponents into oblivion, as subtle as a Prince guitar solo.

And yet all of that flash and fun may very well mask the one quality that really makes Edwards dangerous, that would validate the faith Minnesota Timberwolves fans are putting in him to be The One who finally turns this franchise around. Underneath all that muscle, behind that smile that won’t quit and hidden by the Southern slang of a 20-year-old who grew up in some of the hardest parts of Atlanta is a mind that processes information quickly and helps him see the game unfolding in front of him before anyone else knows what’s coming.

“I’m smarter than a lot of people think,” Edwards once said with a grin. “I just look like this.”

He delivered that line before a game against Denver last January, at first glance just a seemingly throw-away bit of self-deprecation aimed at getting an easy laugh. But the look in his eye told a different story, one of a young man who knows a doubter when he sees one; one who can’t wait to show you there is so much more there, and then never let you hear the end of it.

“Maybe because of how playful I am,” Edwards said. “I gotta kind of settle that down as the year goes this year. Still have the same spirit, but gotta let people know when it’s time to get serious, time to lock in.”


Howl Wolves!!
 

TruthSeeker

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Drama free? A-Rod is an owner now.

If that is what they measure, then the Wolves are phucked.
 

BleedGopher

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per Shama:

The Timberwolves open their season tonight at Target Center against the Rockets and it looks like two overriding elements will determine whether Minnesota can make the playoffs for only the second time since 2004. The Wolves core players have to avoid long stretches without being sidelined. Second, this team must go from being one of the NBA’s worst defensively to at least mediocre.

Set the ceiling for wins at 45.

The public will take a wait-and-see approach. “They’re tackling people to come to games,” a sports executive said Monday.


Howl Wolves!!
 




Iceland12

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Btit Robson is thorough,but it's a long, long read. Here's a small part. Seriously.

When it comes to NBA-caliber talent, the current Wolves roster is stocked with more depth than the franchise has enjoyed in many years. Part of this is maturation. Half of the top dozen players in the Wolves rotation last season were aged 22 and younger, including Edwards and the steal of last year’s draft, combo forward and defensive stalwart Jaden McDaniels, whom Finch has boldly (foolishly?) compared to a young Scottie Pippen. In the frontcourt, center Naz Reid, power forward Jarred Vanderbilt and even combo guard Jaylen Nowell (who is on the rotation bubble), are reasonably expected to sustain the upward trajectory each of them demonstrated last season.


Another part of the better depth is related to health. At the top of the pecking order, the two Timberwolves who have been All-Stars and are on maximum salaries, Towns and point guard D’Angelo Russell, played dramatically fewer minutes than their six-year career norms last season. Assuming a more typical playing regimen for both would mean their replacements would go back to strengthening the bench contingent..


A prediction: 38 wins … and other fungible rewards


Relatively speaking, I’m optimistic about the Wolves this season. I do not predict them making the playoffs for only the second time since 2004, or boasting a winning record for only the second time since 2005. But what Rosas has wrought and Finch will execute will feel less like a nursery school gambol than the makings of a basketball team that can generate fungible rewards, has room to evolve in different ways, and can keep your investment and enthusiasm without you feeling like a sap.


Assuming a league-average burden of injuries and disruptions, I’ll predict between 35 and 41 wins, both over the Vegas consensus projection of 33.5-34.5. Split the difference and call it 38-44..



 


stocker08

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McKinley Wright got some garbage minutes at the end of the game. Knocked down his first NBA shot. A triple. Very cool for a local kid.
 





BleedGopher

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The Timberwolves looked different: Observations from a raucous opener with explosive offense, gnarly defense

You’ve heard it all before. That this Timberwolves team is different, that this will be the year that they finally start taking things seriously and do what they need to do.

It would be foolish to say that a season-opening win over a Houston Rockets team that will lose a lot this season is a definitive sign that the Timberwolves have finally stopped messing around. But damn if it didn’t feel different at Target Center as we watched the Timberwolves fly around defensively, stand side by side and cover for each other while totally dismantling a team that did not belong on the same court.

The Timberwolves historically have rolled out the red carpet for struggling teams, made them feel comfortable in their house and let them stay as long as they wanted. These Rockets were the beneficiaries just last March. But after a preseason of promise, the Timberwolves kicked off the 2021-22 season with a 124-106 victory in which they bullied Houston on defense and dunked the Rockets into next week.

The Wolves scored 38 points off 24 Houston turnovers, 31 points in transition and had 18 steals and 13 blocked shots. Karl-Anthony Towns scored 30 points and had 10 rebounds, Anthony Edwards had 29 and six and D’Angelo Russell scored 22, but it was the defense that got them going early while the offense sputtered.

“It’s really what we’ve been trying to sell our guys,” coach Chris Finch said. “If we want to be a team that takes a step forward we have to have that type of defensive approach.”

And it didn’t just happen in the early going, with Jaden McDaniels (four steals, three blocks) and Josh Okogie throwing wrecking balls through the Houston offense. The Wolves led by 29 points with just under five minutes to play when Usman Garuba had a seemingly wide-open, breakaway dunk. Then Malik Beasley came flying into the picture, stuffing Garuba at the rim.


Howl Wolves!!
 

BleedGopher

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Chip: Anthony Edwards electric in Timberwolves' season-opening victory

Are you ready for the Ant Show?

Edwards vowed to be a better, more well-rounded player in his second NBA season, and the first impression Wednesday night more than hit that mark.

Edwards showed off his improved shooting touch to go along with leap-tall-buildings athleticism as the Timberwolves gave their fans a rollicking good time in a 124-106 victory over the Houston Rockets.

Edwards rode six three-pointers to 29 points in 31 minutes of action — a sweet reward after committing himself this offseason to improving his perimeter shooting.

"I put the work in, like a 9-to-5 every day in the summer," he said. "[Shots] should fall."

It's only one game — one game against a dreadful team that can tank without trying — but Edwards looks primed to build on what he started as a rookie. Still only 20 years old, he already possesses star quality in talent and personality.

Edwards put on a show in the first half with four three-pointers and a poster dunk. His 21 first-half points turned the arena into a house party, not a normal vibe for Target Center.

This is the Edwards effect. He is a lightning bolt. He is electric. Pick your own favorite adjective.

Edwards forces you to pay attention. Don't look away when he's on the floor, because you might miss something thrilling. He dunks as if he's hangry. And then he smiles. Always smiling, like someone just told him a funny joke. His personality matches his talent. He oozes charisma.


Howl Wolves!!
 

coolhandgopher

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Chip: Anthony Edwards electric in Timberwolves' season-opening victory

Are you ready for the Ant Show?

Edwards vowed to be a better, more well-rounded player in his second NBA season, and the first impression Wednesday night more than hit that mark.

Edwards showed off his improved shooting touch to go along with leap-tall-buildings athleticism as the Timberwolves gave their fans a rollicking good time in a 124-106 victory over the Houston Rockets.

Edwards rode six three-pointers to 29 points in 31 minutes of action — a sweet reward after committing himself this offseason to improving his perimeter shooting.

"I put the work in, like a 9-to-5 every day in the summer," he said. "[Shots] should fall."

It's only one game — one game against a dreadful team that can tank without trying — but Edwards looks primed to build on what he started as a rookie. Still only 20 years old, he already possesses star quality in talent and personality.

Edwards put on a show in the first half with four three-pointers and a poster dunk. His 21 first-half points turned the arena into a house party, not a normal vibe for Target Center.

This is the Edwards effect. He is a lightning bolt. He is electric. Pick your own favorite adjective.

Edwards forces you to pay attention. Don't look away when he's on the floor, because you might miss something thrilling. He dunks as if he's hangry. And then he smiles. Always smiling, like someone just told him a funny joke. His personality matches his talent. He oozes charisma.


Howl Wolves!!
He could own this state. I initially thought they yet again made the wrong pick last year (and LaMelo Ball is no slouch), but Edwards has me paying attention, searching for game footage and even tuning into his interviews and comments, which I almost never pay attention to. This combination of talent and personality-whew, the TWolves caught lightning. My fingers are fighting my brain to avoid typing any pessimistic thoughts about what this franchise has traditionally done to hope.
 

TruthSeeker

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He could own this state. I initially thought they yet again made the wrong pick last year (and LaMelo Ball is no slouch), but Edwards has me paying attention, searching for game footage and even tuning into his interviews and comments, which I almost never pay attention to. This combination of talent and personality-whew, the TWolves caught lightning. My fingers are fighting my brain to avoid typing any pessimistic thoughts about what this franchise has traditionally done to hope.
Paul is his agent. He'll be leaving.
 

BleedGopher

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He could own this state. I initially thought they yet again made the wrong pick last year (and LaMelo Ball is no slouch), but Edwards has me paying attention, searching for game footage and even tuning into his interviews and comments, which I almost never pay attention to. This combination of talent and personality-whew, the TWolves caught lightning. My fingers are fighting my brain to avoid typing any pessimistic thoughts about what this franchise has traditionally done to hope.

Agreed. He's the best sports personality this town has had since Randy Moss.

Own it ANT!! This franchise needs you, our fans deserve you.

Howl Wolves!!
 

jamiche

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Agreed. He's the best sports personality this town has had since Randy Moss.

Own it ANT!! This franchise needs you, our fans deserve you.

Howl Wolves!!
I thought he might come back this year a little jaded--a little NBA bored badass. His post game with Marney last night was pure Ant. Great to see.
 

JimmyJamesMD

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Not to be a pessimist, but that rockets team is going to be historically bad
 


kg21

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Not to be a pessimist, but that rockets team is going to be historically bad
They would lose to historically bad teams all the time. Or at least be a one or two possession game with a minute left.
 


kg21

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Pounce on Simmons while the value is extremely low.
 

Iceland12

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Wolves escape with 96-89 victory over New Orleans​


D'Angelo Russell didn't try to dress up his performance through the first three quarters of the Timberwolves' 96-89 victory over New Orleans on Saturday night.

"I just forgot how to play basketball, honestly," said Russell, who was just 2-for-10 through three periods at Target Center.
Sometimes, however, it's better to be lucky than good, like when Russell hoisted a three from the top of the key with around 26 seconds remaining and the Wolves ahead by four. Even though the rest of his night had gone awry, he caught a break, as the ball banked in off the glass and in for an anxiety-relieving three.

"Thank God it went in …" coach Chris Finch said. "Sometimes getting lucky in those situations is all you need."..

The Wolves had the additional hurdle of having to close the game without Towns, who fouled out with 6 minutes, 36 seconds remaining on an offensive foul against frequent foil Jonas Valanciunas (20 points). Towns flipped over a chair after the call, drawing a technical on his way out. The Wolves overcame the frustration in that moment, however and did enough for the win. Russell hit another 3 and the defense stood up in the final minutes. Before Towns fouled out, he was part of an 11-1 run to begin the quarter that guard Jordan McLaughlin helped spearhead. McLaughlin hadn't played through the first three quarters, but with Russell and the offense as a whole struggling, Finch turned to McLaughlin.
"All credit to J-Mac," Finch said. "He stayed ready the whole game and he was really the difference maker in a lot of ways. He got us going out there on the offensive end.".







 

MplsGopher

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So are the TWolves good now?

Should I actually care and pay attention? I feel like, as soon as I start caring, they'll start losing more.
 

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Patrick Beverley wasn't at Target Center for the Timberwolves' season-opening win because he was serving a one-game suspension for shoving Chris Paul during last season's Western Conference finals.


"Served my time like a grown man," Beverley said after practice Friday.


Though he wasn't present, Beverley still had an impact on the Wolves' defensive effort, with coach Chris Finch saying after the game Beverley was the one who helped "set the tone" for their effort at that end of the floor even without being there.


That has been a common theme throughout training camp. Teammates have credited Beverley with bringing the leadership and focus on the defensive end the Wolves haven't had in recent seasons. Now Beverley gets to show some of that in person in a game that counts as he makes his Wolves debut Saturday against the Pelicans.

"Excited to get out there and compete, of course, go out there and get better," Beverley said. "Build it brick by brick until we have a nice, pretty house at the end of the year."
One of the bricks in that house is the team camaraderie Beverley said he saw on Wednesday night. Beverley pointed to one sequence as one of his favorites of the night. It happened when Malik Beasley tried unsuccessfully to save a ball near the Wolves bench. He went flying into it and his teammates picked him up and cheered him back on the floor afterward.

"If we get a lot more of those situations, a lot more of those types of things to happen, we'll be a successful team," Beverley said.


 

Iceland12

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So are the TWolves good now?

Should I actually care and pay attention? I feel like, as soon as I start caring, they'll start losing more.
Who knows. History says no. Who knows what can happen if they can stay healthy. History is against that too.

Whether we care or not makes no difference on the W/L record. Just gonna enjoy the wins when they get them.
 




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