Barry Gossage / Getty Images Contributor

Covington: 'We Have To Trust The System'

by Katie Davidson
Digital Content Associate

Robert Covington turned to his head coach Ryan Saunders’ adage when asked to describe his team’s psyche on Thursday, the day after the Wolves’ sixth-straight loss.

“Ryan (Saunders) always says you gotta have good days add up,” Covington said. “Today is going to be one of them days where we can refocus and get some practice under our belt and just get after it a little bit. We do have to sit up here and change what’s going on right now. It’s a long season; you go through these stretches. It’s just about how you approach it.”

The Wolves added to their losing streak on Wednesday night by dropping a 127-116 loss to the Utah Jazz, but less than 24 hours later, they were back at their practice facility, openly addressing what they need to do to get back on track.

“I thought we were undisciplined last night — especially after watching the film,” Saunders said. “There’s a natural tendency when you lose games to start thinking that you might have to do it by yourself offensively or defensively. Sometimes, some of that shines through during the games when it’s just a simple situation where you don’t have to help but you see, ‘Hey, the ball’s right there. I can do this.’ We have to get away from that.”

Saunders was unpleased with the Wolves’ close-outs and failure to contest the Jazz’s corner, 3-point shots. And he’s not validating the excuse that losses are piling up because the Wolves’ competition has improved since their early-season schedule.

“You still got to play every game,” Saunders said. “We’ve had games where we’ve had opportunities to win too, and we’ve had opportunities to do the right things. I mean it when I say it’s not just about the wins and losses. It’s about doing the right things and building a foundation. In the last couple of weeks here, since Thanksgiving, we haven’t made those steps.”

To get back to the team the Wolves were when they had an above-.500 record, Saunders wants to see his team communicate more — especially on the defensive end.

“We’re a team that needs to become better communicators right now,” Saunders said. “It is something that people have always said it can come with age when guys get more comfortable, but I’ve always just really thought that, no matter what, you can always talk, and that can make up for a lot of possible miscues if you just communicate and talk them out.”

The Wolves don’t have much margin for error, but if they’re able to correct their mistakes early on, they can become an above-.500 team just as quickly as they dropped to 10th in the Western Conference standings.

“It can flip quick,” Saunders said. “It can flip quick either way, and that is my message, but I’ve also said ‘You’ve got to make it flip. You’ve got to make the change,’ and it’s first got to come from the individual, but then it has to come from the group where the individuals are all put together to reach a common goal. I thought we had that at the beginning of the season, but sometimes when adversity hits you can kind of lose your way a little bit. But I don’t have concern that we’re going to find our way again because these guys have been great with things, and they’ve still been positive.”

Once again, Saunders’ message resonated with Covington.

“Like Ryan always says, we have to trust the system and know what we do and remember how we’ve been doing it and what was our success from the beginning,” Covington said. “I think once we get back to that, we’ll be fine. We just got to reprogram.”

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