Growing Pains - Week 1
I have already heard it said that the youth of the Timberwolves should no longer be used as an excuse. While I agree that the validity of it has a shortening shelf life - approximately June or whenever the season ends, the infusion of a drastically different coaching mentality should be enough of a reason to give them another season of slack. It wouldn't take much for me to be convinced that an entire season is too much, two games are an undeniably unacceptable window from which to draw hard conclusions.
Let's start with the season tip off, shall we. Highlights first, then a bit of a breakdown.
The Wolves started off very well. Honestly I don't know how they could have come out of the locker room playing better. Then the final 3.5 quarters happened... They got up 20 - 3 in a hurry but were barely leading at the end of the first quarter and only scored 78 points over the final 40 minutes or so. That may work some days, especially as the defensive proficiency increases but to open the season and not even crack triple digits off that start is pretty bad.
Let's take a peak at game two now
Two games is the start of a trend but the chewing out that Thibs may have already brought and will likely continue to bring will hopefully keep it from becoming a recurring issue. The ability to get big leads in games is a great revelation and I think we can all agree that it should keep happening. Learning to maintain the pace and intensity for all 48 minutes to not only maintain the lead but increase it is the next step.
It's too early to panic. Coming from someone who sees the local sports world as a rube that may get my card clipped but I'm saying it anyway. We are only 2% of the way into the season so let's just let the progress happen.
Let me be clear though, I don't like the losing. Against a playoff team it's more acceptable but last night's was worse. I grant that the Kings seemed to be competent and have talent with quality coaching to match but they're still the Kings. They've been in the same swamp as the Timberwolves for many years now and it's hard to see that changing right now. But this isn't Sac talk so let me get back to the A topic.
It's very early in the season and 80 games are more then enough to make up for these early losses. But the third loss will make that more difficult.
What's the third loss you may be asking yourself?
One Ricky Rubio sprained his elbow. Far from the most devastating injury that Minnesota Sports fans have had to handle mentally in the last few months but not insignificant either. Some may like that this will open the door for Dunn to get in and show what he's got but this doesn't help the team overall. Hopefully he will recover quickly but the thing I'm most interested to see now is how this affects the point guard usage in the interim.
The rumors and conversation of Tyus getting dealt needs to be shelved for now and since I'm still a fan of his that's the closest thing to a silver lining that I can find right now. Sure the experience may be good for Dunn and maybe he will open some eyes but I'm skeptical of that right now. With two losses in growing pain like fashion, the loss of one of the veteran leaders doesn't seem like a piece of a winning puzzle.