GM Feature

Minnesota: From Pups to Wolves

Minnesota hasn’t been competitive since Kevin Garnett was in his prime, and hasn’t even finished top 9 in the Western Conference since 2005. Rebuilding this franchise has taken some time, but it seems the pieces are finally falling in place.

The other day, word broke out that the Timberwolves signed Tom Thibodeau to a 5-year deal worth upwards of $40 million. Thibodeau is the perfect coach to take on the Minnesota Timberwolves project. Lucky for Tom, he is taking over the head coach and head of basketball operations responsibilities just when things seem to be heading in the right direction. The Timberwolves have the most impressive young roster in the NBA – led by Karl-Anthony Towns (2016 ROY), Andrew Wiggins (2015 ROY), Ricky Rubio and high-flying Zach LaVine (who has shown drastic improvement over the last season).

As a team of young potential stars, it surely isn’t a definite that the Timberwolves will live up to their expectation. Tom Thibodeau is the type of hard-nosed, defensive-minded, and controlling coach that should work out perfectly to keep a young team in line though.

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Outside of veterans Kevin Garnett and Tayshaun Prince, the average age on the Timberwolves’ roster is 24 years old, and the “future of the franchise” seems to be in the hands of 20 year old Karl-Anthony Towns, and 21 year old Andrew Wiggins. Lucky for Minnesota, both of these players look like future All-Stars, and Minnesota has another lottery pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. To top it off, with the rising stars already on the roster, and a legitimate coach running the show, Minnesota might be a sought out destination for free-agents for the first time in a long time. The fact that Thibodeau chose to sign with the Timberwolves, over all the other teams that sought him out, is a testament to the optimistic outlook of the franchise.

Along with their inexperience, the Timberwolves aren’t the best defensive team either. HOWEVER, Thibodeau is possibly the best defensive coach in the NBA, and with the addition of Karl Anthony-Towns down low, Thibodeau has plenty of length and athleticism to work with. With a bunch of players hovering around the legal drinking age leading the way on the court, wins have been tough to come by. Tom Thibodeau will slowly but surely help this roster live up to the hype.

It is time Minnesota to start winning games. Thibodeau’s defensive focus should take this team from the bottom of the Western Conference, to competing for a playoff spot next season. Thibodeau has a 5 year contract to work with, and may need the entirety of that contract to see this team fully transform. Some say Thibodeau is the type of coach to overwork a team, but with players in their early 20’s, that shouldn’t be an issue. Other NBA teams should begin to watch what’s about to happen in Minnesota. They are ready to transform from a bunch of pups, to a pack of wolves.

 

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