Minnesota Timberwolves: The Wolves are Waiting


The 14 days in between now and the Minnesota Timberwolves season opener against the Orlando Magic is the length of an eternity. Like the injuries the team endured last season; angst,  in anticipation of this season, is spreading like the black plague. Sparing most of the narrative; the Wolves may be a special team this season — October 30th couldn’t come soon enough.

It’s been just over a month since a healthy roster started to give Wolves fans hope. The team’s wellness and the return of Flip Saunders, a former leader, meant a potential playoff berth, however, the dominoes seem to keep falling in Minnesota. The injury to Chase Budinger started the series of unfortunate events, which have continued after losses to CSKA Moscow and the Toronto Raptors.

Despite forcing 26 turnovers and attempting a whopping 50 free throws, the Wolves lost to the Raptors after being outscored 25-16 in the fourth-quarter on Saturday. Coach Rick Adelman encapsulated the mood after the game.

“I just think the only thing about tonight is that it gives us something to look at in film, we just didn’t come with it — I don’t understand. It’s like I told them afterwards, we played two home games here and we act like we’re just going through the motions. We aren’t the San Antonio Spurs, we aren’t the Miami Heat.” he told media, after asking he asked the team,  “Do you think you’re that good?”

The Minnesota Timberwolves have gone back to a familiar face in Flip Saunders. Photo Credit: Keith Allison, Flickr.com

Kevin Martin didn’t play in Saturday’s loss, allowing for a full nine-days rest after tweaking his knee in the first quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks back on October 10th in Sioux Falls, S.D. Martin said he was “in on about 90 percent of the action” in practice yesterday and figures to play against the Boston Celtics in the Wolves next preseason game. The game is this Sunday (20th) and by then Martin will have had nine days of rest, the final home game of the preseason.

The Wolves finish exhibition play with back-to-back games on the road, first in Philadelphia and the following evening in Detroit Wednesday and Thursday of next week. I don’t believe 18 players make the trip with the team for the final two rehearsals before opening night, three cuts may be made by the end of this week. Of Robbie Hummel, Lorenzo Brown, Chris Johnson, A.J. Price and Othyus Jeffers, two will make the team. Johnson hasn’t played a minute, Hummel didn’t play last Saturday and Brown hasn’t played well in the two games he’s appeared. Brown has shot 2 of 10 from the field, dished out 3 assists and scored 6 points in a total of 30 minutes.

Adelman’s recited the verbal thrashing of his team after the loss as only the career 1000 game winner could have after Saturday’s loss, his tone was calm yet firm — he meant business.

“We’re going to have to look at things, talk about things and we’re going to have to get better next week and in the last three games.”

Will the Wolves be as good as the Heat or the Spurs after that? Probably not, which is why that’s not the reason for the team’s lackadaisical play. This team has been out hustled, worked and won’t so much as sniff the playoffs if it continues to play this way. However, hope remains in tact — this trend will cease on opening night. These preseason performances, good or bad, only give fans a preview of what they’ll see this season; the results are of no significance.

The memories of last season slowly creeping back into the minds of fans, anxiety continues to grow as we wait the start of the season. Though this type of speculation would never reach the surface, do the players feel it too? In my opinion, the team could lose each of the final three preseason games by 50 — I’d rather see them healthy on opening night, keeping the hopes for a playoff berth high in Minnesota.