Coming into the 2016-17 season the Minnesota Timberwolves were the darlings of the NBA, an incredibly young team flush with talent and potential that many prognosticators thought were ready to take the leap to being a playoff team.
A 6-18 start quelled those notions pretty quickly as even with defensive guru Tom Thibodeau in tow and a couple budding stars in Karl Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, the inexperience and struggles of some of their other young players like Kris Dunn (big disappointment as a rookie) became too much for the Timber pups to overcome in a grown’s man’s league and the always competitive western conference.
They have played better basketball since their awful start and are now 22-35 and amazingly only 35 games out of the No. 8 seed in the western conference even though they are currently in 13th place out of 15 teams.
With the trade deadline looming and an opportunity to tank and get another high draft pick to add to their young core appeal to owner Glen Taylor, not really.
Taylor and the whole organization agree that the best thing for their young team’s development is to strive for a playoff spot and all of the experience and learning that comes with that.
Here is what Taylor told the AP on Friday:
“We’re all of the same mind, to get in, get the experience,” Taylor said. “Just the winning of games to try to get there is worth it. Our guys can’t see anything positive about losing games. They must win games, and then if we can win enough to get into the playoffs, that in and of itself would be a major step for our young players.”
The Wolves chances of making the post-season are slim, especially with young stud Zach LaVine out for the season with a torn ACL, but continuing to progress and grow and strive for that goal is exactly what the Wolves need. They have gone 11-9 in their last 20 games and Towns and Wiggins are playing their best basketball of the season.
The only additions the Timberwolves really need at this point are veteran leaders who can defend (they are currently 23rd in defensive rating) and that is not going to be found with a high pick in the NBA draft.