The New Wolves Resolutions For 2013-14
I’ve never been big on New Year’s Resolutions. They just seem really overdone, and part of it is probably the fact that once New Year’s Day rolls around you know you’re never going to get a Treadmill when you want one for the next month and a half. They are often short-lived yet still very annoying.
But as I was coming back from a run in Mankato during Training Camp this week, I ran into one of the players in the hotel lobby and a couple things crossed my mind. One, I haven’t been working out as much as I’d like to lately. And two, the Wolves are back in full swing, beginning a new season and going full speed at camp with such ferocity that Kevin Martin offered this week he’d rather play preseason games every night than go through daily Rick Adelman practices.
It got me thinking: For these guys, it’s a new season. This is their New Year. Much like we felt about September when we were students, October is the new beginning for NBA players.
With that, I present to you the New Wolves Resolutions for 2013-14.
I’ll keep it local, and I’ll start with myself. Since it was my idea and I’ve been incredibly lazy when it comes to working out this summer, I’m taking this opportunity to get out and exercise 3-4 days per week during the season. If I can attack this initiative with the same efficiency I’ve used with my annual New Year’s Resolution (which is to not declare a New Year’s Resolution at all), I should be in great shape by January.
One thing I’ve noticed about the Wolves in camp is that they’re working hard and are extremely competitive every day. The aches and pains of camp are there, and they’re itching to take the floor for against CSKA Moscow on Monday at 7 p.m. at Target Center (which is scheduled to be televised on Fox Sports North). They’ve run a lot of sprints, they’ve played a lot of scrimmage ball and they’re seemingly tired of facing themselves in 5-on-5. It’s time to face a new challenge.
And as the Wolves get into these new challenges, I’ve comprised a few resolutions for the team here in 2013-14. I submit to you a few right here…
My first resolution is a pretty obvious: The Wolves need to stay healthy. This is a league-wide initiative (see Derrick Rose’s return and Russell Westbrook’s early-season absence), but in Minnesota there has been too much of this over the past couple seasons. It’s completely uncontrollable and impossible to predict, but the key is to do the little things each day to get their bodies ready to go. If this team stays healthy, there is reason to believe the franchise can achieve some of their postseason goals that have gone dry for much of the past decade. I get it: It’s obvious, and it’s not really something you can control, but it’s vital to this team’s success.
My second resolution for the Wolves is keep up that work behind the arc. I can tell you from watching Training Camp that this Wolves team will be better from 3-point range this season. They have guys who are better suited to take those shots, and if everyone remains healthy their role players will be kept in positions that best suit their strengths. Martin said some guys were shooting 100 3-pointers per day. I can’t confirm that, but they did put up a lot of shots from distance. Martin’s mechanics are unconventional, but his results are very, very efficient. The rotation of the ball coming out of his release is fun to watch. He was 10th in the league last year in 3-point percentage, and a healthy Kevin Love should help the team’s causes, too. Speaking of Love, he put on a show for the media on Saturday by hitting most of his 3-pointers while shooting five sets of 10 around the arc.
My third resolution is more scoring from Ricky Rubio. Rubio’s strength is clearly making opportunities happen for his teammates, but if he can finish with better efficiency at the rim as well as knock down more spot-up jumpers coming off screens, he’s going to open things up for his teammates even more. Along with that, I’d say the Wolves can capitalize on a change of pace between Rubio and J.J. Barea coming off the bench. I envision Barea thriving this year because his role will be more defined than in years past—this team’s depth and balance allows Barea’s dribble penetration and spark off the bench to better complement Rubio’s precision passing in the starting role. Of the three years he’s been in Minnesota, this is the best Wolves roster when it comes to tailoring itself to Barea’s strengths.
My fourth resolution is communication. Coming out of camp, the biggest negative coming from the coaching staff was the Wolves’ communication on the defensive end. Minnesota needs to be in tune as a whole defensively, because they don’t have a group of guys who are individually known as elite defenders. If they learn to help one another vocally, it will go a long way toward helping stop opposing offenses. I have a sneaking suspicion the Wolves will be able to score, but playing a “first to 110” game every night won’t be an ideal approach.
Finally, my fifth resolution for the team is to simply keep on the trajectory it’s currently on. The two years prior to Rick Adelman’s arrival were statistically the two worst seasons in team history. Since then, Minnesota has reshaped its roster, its philosophies and its expectations. There is belief in that locker room that good things are on the way. If they keep that mindset and continue battling with one another in practice with the same level of competition they’ve shown this week, good things surely will follow.
And with that, we’ve got an NBA season to get to. Feel free to make some resolutions of your own here in October. You can work on your as I work on mine and the Wolves work on theirs. We’ll catch up in late-April and see where we stand.
For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter, and join the conversation at WolvesNation.com.