The Timberwolves really want to get better on defense
The good news is the Timberwolves' defense can't get any worse this year. The Wolves finished dead last in points allowed per possession a year ago, boasting the league's least-impressive defensive efficiency since the 2010-11 Toronto Raptors'.
That's, uhhh, not what you liked to see. And it's not what interim coach Sam Mitchell prefers, either. Here's more from Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune:
The Wolves do have a shot to improve on D beyond the logic of, “Hey, nothing's worse than last place!”
Ricky Rubio is one of the better point-guard defenders in the NBA, though one could argue ferocious D from the 1-spot is the least impactful defense a team can get. Still, Andrew Wiggins has high defensive potential. So does Karl-Anthony Towns. Even Gorgui Dieng provides some value. And Kevin Garnett's mere presence stands to make a big difference just for how the Wolves operate as communicators and team defenders.
It's unlikely the Wolves become some sort of defensive stalwart. Actually, it's still unlikely that they even hit league-average levels. If they're planning on playing guys like Kevin Martin and Nikola Pekovic major minutes, it's going to hurt the D. But the Wolves are heading in a proper direction, and that's a solid start.
Back to long training-camp practices in which his team went nearly two hours with barely touching a ball to start Tuesday’s first practice.
Back to the basics, such as starting with something as simple as the defensive stance and beginning to install a system intent to strengthen their defense from the perimeter on in.
“We know we have to get better defensively, and the only way you’re going to get better is to work on it,” Mitchell said. “We understood at the end of last season that we just have to get better at it. The players understand that, the coaches understand that. You have to work at it and try to get better every day.”