Development is Most Important to Timberwolves
(Photo: Tim Parochka)
The Minnesota Timberwolves 2015-16 season has officially started.
Milt Newton, Sam Mitchell, and most players addressed the media a day before training camp to talk about the upcoming season. The key term was "develop".
"The vision is to still develop our players," Milt said. "We'd love to make the playoffs, but the vision is to develop the young core that we have so that we can be a perennial playoff team."
The Minnesota Timberwolves haven't made the playoffs since the 2003-04 season, but the Timberwolves fan base must continue to be patient.
"They (young players) have to have an opportunity to play." Mitchell continued, "You have to teach these guys how to approach the game."
When interim head coach Sam Mitchell was asked how much he thinks KG, Andre Miller and Tayshaun Prince have left in the tank, Mitchell responded. "We're not concerned about how many minutes those guys are going to play. They will be most valuable in the locker-room and on the practice court every day showing these guys how to do things."
Last season, Flip Saunders wanted Andrew Wiggins to understand how to score inside first before he expanded his range. This might be one of differences between Mitchell and Saunders because I asked Mitchell if he would limit Karl-Anthony Towns to scoring inside first before expanding his range.
"We saw how he played in Kentucky and we think he has a tremendous skill-set. We are going to let Karl determine that by how he plays. We are going to put him in situations early in training camp and see how he responds and see where he's most comfortable." Mitchell continued, "I am not going to force him to play in one spot or the other. I'm going to let his natural ability and talent dictate that. The more success we can give these guys early with their natural ability, it will be easier for them to start learning other things. My approach will be to let them do what they do best."
The Minnesota Timberwolves roster is full of young players and Kevin Garnett had the highest praise for them.
Garnett stated, "We have a great group of young guys who are eager to learn. Not good, but great. They work hard and they give you everything. I see a lot of myself in some of these guys."
Garnett reiterated that he is "not a coach on the floor, but a voice in the locker-room."
It will be an interesting year because Mitchell and Milt both said that the development of the young players was most important, but Kevin Martin might have his own plans.
When asked about his history of starting and coming off the bench, Martin stated. "There's not a compelling case, no. I know where I am at among other shooting guards in the league."
Basically, Martin said that he doesn't want to be a bench player. However, Martin starting may not be an option this season because the Timberwolves have two young and talented players, LaVine and Shabazz, who have the ability to play a starting role.
MORE WOLVES NOTES:
- Mitchell said that players have to "earn the right to shoot threes."
- Players acknowledged that Mitchell is more intense than Saunders.
- Andre Miller said Tyus is "advanced and he will surprise a lot of people."
- Tyus said himself, Karl and Wiggins would win against Andre, KG, and Prince. Andre said exact opposite. Andre said, "we're tougher, meaner."
- Wiggins is a lot stronger. He has bulked up.
- Wiggins worked on ball-handling, and shooting this off-season.
- LaVine feels stronger. LaVine tweaked jumper so it's more consistent.
- 6-7 more weeks until Pekovic practices. He won't be ready for opening day.
- Ricky Rubio said he made 89/100 threes Sunday night. A personal record.
- Shabazz said this is the most athletic he's felt. Also said his right hand looks as good as left hand in the post and can't wait to show everybody.
- I asked Martin how he scored 39 points after he broke his wrist. He said, "luck and we were playing against the Knicks."
- My favorite moment of the day: When Nemanja Bjelica got done with his press conference, Ricky Rubio gave him a standing ovation. Normally you don't clap afterwards. When Ricky got done with his press conference I gave him an ovation. Ricky started laughing and then he came over and started shaking my hand.