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Training Camp Report | For The Greater Good Of The Team

by Kyle Ratke, Digital Content Manager

Digital Content Manager


The Timberwolves have more talent on their roster than they have in quite some time. Possibly ever.

And while talent certainly helps, egos need to be checked at the door in the NBA on talented teams.

Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau is no stranger to that.

In his first season as an assistant coach for the Boston Celtics, the team acquired Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett before the season to star alongside Paul Pierce.

That’s great, in theory, but all players had to sacrifice a bit after being “the guy” on their former teams. Of course, that worked out well and the team won the championship.

“I think you learn from all your experiences and I think the biggest takeaway from that was their willingness to sacrifice for each other,” Thibodeau said of that group after Wednesday’s training camp practice. “When you look at Kevin, Paul and Ray, they were all coming from teams in which they scored a lot of points. They were all in the mid-20s . . . If they weren’t willing to (sacrifice), (the championship) never would have happened.”

Thibs is right.

Garnett went from averaging 22.4 to averaging 18.8 points.

Allen went from averaging 26.4 to 17.4 points.

And Pierce went from averaging 25 to 19.6 points.

For the Wolves to have success in 2017-18, they’ll likely need similar sacrifices from their “Big 3” in Jimmy Butler, Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns. But so far in camp, it appears as if the three are playing well with each other.

“We do a three-on-two drill and when you have Karl, Andrew and Jimmy going down at you. You kind of look and say ‘Man, I don’t know how I’m going to stop these guys,’” Aldrich said. “They look good. They look real good. They’re comfortable with each other.”

We will get our first look at the new Wolves on Saturday in preseason action against the Lakers in Anaheim. And while that’s exciting, it’s probably important to realize that everything won’t click right away for this group.

“It’s going to take longer than the preseason, I’ll tell you that,” point guard Jeff Teague said on the team hitting full stride. “It’s going to be good for us to get a game under our belt out there. It’s going to take some time.”

Other Important Stuff

  • Forward Nemanja Bjelica missed Wednesday’s practice due to personal reasons.
  • Nevada head basketball coach Eric Musselman stopped by practice. Eric’s dad, Bill, was the Timberwolves’ first head coach from 1989-91. The assistant coaches from the 1990-91 team? Eric Musselman and Tom Thibodeau.
  • Aldrich said that the China trip was a good thing for the Clippers when he was part of a team that made the visit in 2015. He thinks it will be even more beneficial for a Wolves team full of new faces.