Practice Report | The Final Practice, Dario Saric Has Found A New Home
The Wolves held their final practice of the season on Monday. They finish their season on a back-to-back with a home game against the Raptors on Tuesday and a game in Denver on Wednesday.
The day was bittersweet. Obviously, the Wolves would love to be playing in the playoffs but they’re also proud to be competing the way they have been in the final games of this season. They haven’t dropped off at all—if anything the team is playing some of its best basketball of the season. The effort in practice, in shootarounds and in games has all been there. The Wolves want to finish strong.
“We still practiced, we still did things that we usually do, but we put a twist on it where it was a competition in terms of going through our offense, things like that. Having everything be perfect, that was our goal, so I think guys enjoyed it,” said Interim Head Coach Ryan Saunders. “Overall the messages were 82 games is 82 games and we have a job to do every time we’re here and any time we put our Wolves gear on to work.”
Saunders has talked a lot about building a strong culture and it’s evident that he’s making an impact. Players up and down the roster have spoken on how much Saunders puts into his work and how he approaches creating an environment where his players can thrive. That starts with building trust and comradery.
“I think our players are coming together, it’s been evident especially over the last couple weeks, I think it’s evident in games, and that we don’t have any quit in us, I think it’s a testament to the guys and how they like each other,” said Saunders. “That’s ultimately what I’ve tried to reinforce is the relationship part of things and the fact that we’re together as a team and as a staff more than we’re with our families during the season and with that though you got to find ways to really enjoy each other, and that’s what I’ve been working towards, while working at the same time.”
That culture shines through and players take notice. There’s probably no better example than looking at Dario Saric.
Saric took a little while to get comfortable in Minnesota. Being traded is a hard thing—you have to pack up your life and move at a moment’s notice as well as get to know an entirely new group of players on the court. Saric will be the first to admit to the difficulty of that task. Now, though, he’s finding his place, and playing his best basketball of the season.
“At first I needed some time to adjust, to feel comfortable, but since you meet the guys and find out how they are as people obviously everything opens and you become closer with other players, with the coaches,” Saric said. “All fifteen guys and all the coaches are just amazing people and it’s amazing to be a part of that and work in that environment.”
Culture matters and Saunders understands that. Even though the Wolves won’t be playing in the playoffs, they are working towards something nevertheless. Expect them to continue competing until the very end.
You last chance to see the Wolves play at Target Center this season is on Tuesday, you can read more about that matchup and find out how to get tickets in our scouting report.