Getty Images

Practice Report | A Chance For Wolves To Prove Themselves On The Road

by Julian Andrews
Web Editorial Associate Follow

The Timberwolves held practice on Friday as they prepare to go on the road for the next four games. The last time they went out to the West Coast things did not go well, but there’s a sense around the team that things will be different this time.

“It’s just a mentality,” said Robert Covington. “Everyone is happy, everyone is doing their job, everyone is more accountable. You see it on the court. It’s just a matter of chemistry and everything falling into place.”

Coach Tom Thibodeau has spoken highly of his team’s effort in practice and in games several times in the last few weeks, and that positive trend continued today.

“It’s hard to win in this league whether you’re home or on the road. The whole idea is to approach the season with the mindset that you have to improve every day,” he said. “There’s going to be times when things are going your way there will be times when things aren’t going your way and how you navigate both is important, it’s a big part of winning. We talk about the attitude and approach all the time and right now it’s excellent.”

Proving Ground

It was nice for Robert Covington and Dario Saric to join the team at the beginning of a long homestand. It gave them a chance to get to know the city, get to know their teammates and get a few practices in to learn the Wolves’ system. However, a road trip will bring its share of positive experiences as well—more team bonding as well as a chance to prove that what we’ve seen from the Wolves over the last few weeks is more than a flash in the pan.

“Absolutely,” Covington said when asked if the Wolves were excited to go on the road. “Absolutely. In order for us to be successful we’re going to have to win on the road.”

Any road games are tough, but this trip also offers three games against Western Conference opponents who the Wolves are fighting for position. There are intangible reasons why it would be good for the Wolves to play well on this trip, but more importantly they simply need the wins. The team isn’t backing down from the challenge.

“Competition should bright the best out of you, and that’s why we look forward to it,” said Thibodeau. “We have the right type of guys that are embracing that challenge.” 

Under The Radar

Despite being one of the best defensive players in the league, you don’t hear Covington’s name floated much for Defensive Player of the Year. His First-Team All-Defense selection last year was a step in the right direction but Covington still thinks he has more to prove.

He wasn’t noticed for his efforts in Philly in large part because the team wasn’t winning. Now that he’s been a part of a few better teams, he thinks he has a chance to be truly great.

“It was very relieving. I’m very happy,” he said of last year’s first-team selection. “The previous year I feel like I got snubbed. Just to have that on your belt there’s only a certain amount of guys that can say that each year. To be in that category with some of the greats… it’s a testament to hard work, to believing in yourself and not giving up and just going out and doing your job.”

What’s next?

“I got the first team under my belt already so the only [thing] now is to continue to get that or get Defensive Player of the Year,” he said. “You can’t go lower but you can always go higher.”

Quick hits:

  • Thibodeau continues to praise Saric and Taj Gibson at pretty much every opportunity. Both players are proven winners and work extremely hard for the betterment of the team. They also offer a huge range of skills to be deployed at the power forward position.
  • Derrick Rose also drew Thibodeau’s praise. It’s nothing new, but his willingness to play any role for the Wolves has really stitched the various parts of the team together—especially their bench unit.
  • The Wolves play tomorrow in Portland at 9 p.m. on Fox Sports North. Check tomorrow for a scouting report and more gameday content. 

  • Facebook
  • Twitter