David Sherman/NBAE/Getty Images

Hitting the Hardwood | Wolves and Knicks: Different Teams, Similar Situations

by Timberwolves.com

Mitchell Hansen
Web Editorial Associate

The Minnesota Timberwolves and the New York Knicks entered the past offseason in similar situations.

Both franchises were looking for a new head coach and looking to obtain players for the upcoming season.

For Minnesota, that resulted in the addition of Tom Thibodeau as head coach on April 20, followed by free agent acquisitions of Brandon Rush, Cole Aldrich, Jordan Hill and John Lucas III. The team also drafted Kris Dunn fifth overall in the NBA Draft.

For New York, it hired Jeff Hornacek as head coach on June 2 and went on to sign free agents Joakim Noah, Courtney Lee, Brandon Jennings, Marshall Plumlee and Guillermo Hernangomez, along with acquiring Derrick Rose and Justin Holiday in a trade with the Chicago Bulls.

Now, 17 games into the season, both teams are still figuring things out with plenty of new faces on each bench. 

“It’s about building a relationship. I think you have to build trust, and the only way you can build trust it through truth. . . You try to come in with a plan every day to get the most out of everybody. I think people respect honesty and work and that’s what works,” Thibodeau said.

“It doesn’t happen overnight. You have to work at it. There are going to be some good days, some bad days, that’s all part of it. Everyone putting everything they have into each and every day, that’s the big thing. So you can make progress, so you can improve, so you can get better, so you can win.”

The Wolves come into Wednesday night’s game against the Knicks with a record of 5-12, while sitting in 13th place in the Western Conference. New York sits in 10th place in the Eastern Conference at 8-9 overall.

Both teams look to continue to build chemistry and get back on track Wednesday night at the Target Center.

“Hopefully you can get to those kind of years with your head coach where to can laugh and joke with him outside of just being a player and coach,” Zach LaVine said of trying to build a relationship with his coach. “You build that relationship, and it takes time, but I think that process began already for most of us.”

Wiggins, Anthony Having Strong Seasons

Third-year wing Andrew Wiggins and veteran forward Carmelo Anthony, who is in his 14th season, are having almost identical season so far this year.

Through 17 games, Wiggins leads Minnesota in scoring with 22.9 points per game. He also records 3.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game, while shooting 42.7 percent from the field and 39.4 percent from three.

Anthony leads New York in scoring, averaging 22.7 points per game. He averages 6.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game, while shooting 44 percent from the field and 34.4 percent from three.

Anthony made one of the biggest improvements in his career in his third season with the Denver Nuggets during the 2005-06 season, jumping nearly six points per game that year.

In his third season this year, Wiggins has also seen improvement. He started the season off hot, but has recently calmed down, which could be a result of drawing opponents’ primary defenders each game. Regardless, Wiggins still is up over two points per game from a year ago.

The Wolves hope to continue to see improvement out of their 21-year-old wing out of Kansas throughout the season.

Wolves Get Ready To Hit The Road

Minnesota hits the road Thursday to begin a two-game road trip that kicks off with a matchup against the Knicks at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Madison Square Garden.

After that, the Wolves take on the Charlotte Hornets at 6 p.m. Saturday in Charlotte, before they return home to host the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday.



  • Facebook
  • Twitter