Minnesota Timberwolves New Identity
With the Kevin Love trade, the Minnesota Timberwolves seem to be committed to defense. Andrew Wiggins and Thadeus Young are head-and-shoulders above Kevin Love defensively. Both Wiggins and Young are perimeter-focused defenders, while Love was never concerned with the thought of defense. This is not to bash Kevin Love, but show how the Timberwolves are chosing a new identity. The identity is perimeter defense. Ricky Rubio is arguably the best at crafty stealing, and the rest of the team is shaping up to be defensive-minded players. The Wolves also consist of Zach LaVine, Anthony Bennett, and Gorgui Dieng, all players with defensive potential and talent. Add in Corey Brewer and the Wolves have a team bursting with perimeter defense. The only real problem will be how the Wolves will incorporate offense into a defensive team. It is not to say that the Wolves have a lack of offensive power, but losing Kevin Love means losing his 26.1 points,12.5 rebounds, and near 27 PER.
Minnesota is going to ruin a lot of road trips this year.
Rubio, Wiggins, Brewer, Thad Young, and Dieng sounds great defensively.
Lots of running and defense from these guys.
They should be really fun to watch.
The Grizzlies home opener (and season opener) is against the T Wolves. Would love to go to that one.
There are worse teams out there.
Unfortunately they still start Kevin Martin at SG and he is a terrible defender. Hope they trade him so Wiggins has no excuses about being alpha dog.
Wiggins should be a solid defender. Is Young really that good defensively? He's athletic sure, but is he a good defender? I honestly don't know because I've watched very little 76er bball.
Rubio is one of the most overrated defenders in the league right now. He gets steals but he's often times gambling, which leads to easy scores, and he is awful at getting through screens. Not ideal when 90% of offense is mid pick and roll action nowadays. Rubio could be a good defender if the Wolves could find a guy to defend opposing PGs and let Rubio guard the stand still 2s where he could utilize his instincts and help defense.
Brewer is a pretty overrated defender as well. He gambles soooo often and many times it doesn't work out. The guy was good in college and isn't a great offensive player, that doesn't automatically mean he's a good defender. He should be better if used in a bench role though.
I've seen the 76ers play quite a bit over Thaddeus Young's career and I'd say he is a good defender. He works hard, keeps his man in front of him, and doesn't gamble much. He has good enough speed to stay with stretch fours and is strong enough to handle the contact from the paint dominating power forwards. Thad's also a good team defender.
Yes he is a good defender, but it should be noted that he is a perimeter defender, and not much of a post defender. Another problem is that he is not a defensive rebounder.
Rubio is probably an underrated defender if anything. Other than is court vision that's a skill he's always had even when he played in the Olympics in 08. He def competes on that end of the floor. I just hope he can find the joy and enthusiasm in playing basketball that he had when he came to the Wolves.
as a big wolves fan, I haven't seen much of Thad young. My question is can he survive the power forwards of the west? I know hes quick but the west pfs are going to bang him around. They need to play defense like LeBrons heat. Rotate fast and use the athleticism to swarm.
The offense in the half court should be lots of pek throwing his defender around and Rubio playing quarterback with athletes in motion. I think one thing love will miss is Rubio always got him the ball in perfect rhythm.
He had to defend LeBron.. Mello..Paul George ..Pierce and at times KG in Jersey.. he was a 3 and 4 and when they went real small sometimes a 5 ...He was a good defender he shared those duties with Evan Turner in 76ers playoff runs...
Minny was one of the worst defensive teams last year. Much due to the fact they were the worst in the league at defending in the paint. Teams shot 63% within 5 feet of the rim. Love and pek were both below league average on an individual basis. But you know who was dead last amongst players in the league who contested 4 or more shots a game at the rim? Thad Young. I like Young, but he's a bad defensive 4.
If your banking on the defensive potential of a group of 19 and 20 years olds to change your identity it's going to be a rough year. History shows young teams are not good defensively. I understand the agruement of length and speed and athleticism translates, but remember Lavine and Wiggins were in high school like 14 months ago. The vets of this league see these types of athletes everyday, they know how to handle them. The problem is these young athletes don't know how to handle these vets.
I'm really excited for this Minny team, and as a canadian I hope Bennett and Wiggins grow together, but with Kevin Martin as your #1 option and a defense likely to be in the bottom third, at best, I'll be looking at maybe 35 wins if they stay healthy and don't deal their vets by the deadline.
Wow thats an impressive fastbrake with Rubio leading it and Wiggins, Brewer, Lavine, Dieng, and Thad filling the break. Losing Love hurts with taking away his outlet passes but it also makes them faster especially with Pekovic and Martin off the floor.
They're going to need Martin to keep the defense honest. The young guys all have problems handling the ball and they are also very streaky shooters. I think they will be kind of easy to guard in the half court. but on the break teams better watch out. They might need to play a Phoenix style offensive. Quick hitting that way they will be able to maximize their offensive potential.
I just hope flip shows more creativity than adelman ever did. I want to have proof the pek dieng front court doesn't work against certain teams before ruling it out. They both worked hard on the 15 ft jumper so the spacing wouldn't be awful.
It's strange people are worried about the half court. Pek is going to be a 20-10 guy without love. Martin scored 17 a game pretty easily. Rubio is good about moving the defense around. The struggle will be efficiency. If Rubio comes back miraculously with a jumper or at least a floater I don't know how good they could be.
What about Anthony Bennett makes you believe he has defensive potential? I'm not knocking him, I've actually always liked him but he's never screemed defensive stopper, he has long arms, that's it.
Only thing i can think of is his strength and long ass arms.
So my thing is Wiggins has been trying to sell himself as a 2/3 and LaVine has been trying to sell himself as a 1/2. Will those position labels stick? I personally feel Wiggins is a 3 and should play 3, and I like LaVine's potential at the 1 for the future but with Ricky Rubio entrenched at the 1 (at least 4 now, rumors were he may want a big contract and Minnesota may not agree, you remember they saved their 1 5 year option for him over Love), his only way of getting on the court will be at the 2.
The Wolves has JJ Barea who they are trying to get rid of, and they signed Mo Williams. So I just want to know how it'll work. Of course they are going to start Wiggins, but will it be over Kevin Martin or Corey Brewer. Also, will Bennett and Thad get to play the 3? What about Budinger, Shabazz, and GRIII?
Funny thing is Flip said he's thinking of playing Shabazz at some small ball 4. This team has some great young assets but it needs to change its roster. Too many people at the same positions.
It's a great way to start rebuilding this team and hopefully accomplishing more than Love's and Garnett's team ever did. I really like the fact that less offense forces this young team to really go after it on the defensive end with high intensity and sound rotations.
On paper they aren't a good team RIGHT NOW, but they will steal a lot of wins this season because of their elite defense.
Minnesota should try lots of Pekovic and Dieng together. That will make them so much better inside. T Young would start at small forward then, and move to power forward when one of the bigs went to the bench. Wiggins would start at shooting guard, but could move to small forward when LaVine or Brewer is playing.
K Martin doesn't really fit, due to his age and because they need to play Wiggins and LaVine who can both play his position, so Minnesota does need to trade him. Martin could be great for a bunch of other NBA teams.