Schisms, Finger Pointing in Timberwolves Locker Room
How are things going for the new look Minnesota Timberwolves, 21 games into the Rudy Gobert + Karl-Anthony Towns experiment? Not well.
Gobert hasn’t fixed the Wolves’ defensive problems. Instead, they’ve gotten worse. We thought Finch could invent a modern two tower approach on offense but he hasn’t found anything resembling competence.
Schisms and Finger Pointing
And now, according to Darren Wolfson (SKOR North, KSTP) during his latest appearance on the Mackey & Judd Show, there’s finger pointing going on behind the scenes at Mayo Clinic Square, before mentioning Dell Demps, who played a big role in acquiring Gobert.
Earlier this week, Dane Moore (Dane Moore Podcast) targeted the locker room. He senses a “schism”, even comparing it to the vibes he felt covering the team when Jimmy Butler was trying to force his way out.
This, Dane claims, is a basketball schism. He called the Jimmy Butler consternation a “personality schism”. In other words, there are Wolves players at Mayo Clinic Square who doubt the modern two tower approach Connelly & Co envisioned when they traded for Rudy Gobert and it’s causing problems and factions within the roster. (41:41 mark in Spotify player below — also transcribed underneath that)
Insiders Ring Alarm
Call it “finger-pointing” or call it a “schism”, the preferred vernacular doesn’t matter. Dane Moore, Darren Wolfson and Britt Robson make up three of the most plugged in Minnesota Timberwolves reporters in town and they’re reporting major disagreements within the organization regarding roster construction and overall franchise direction.
“It is a basketball schism, though, I do think. The only other team that I’ve covered that’s had a schism was the 2017-18 Jimmy [vs KAT schism]. That had a similar dynamic of, ‘there’s a group of us that are doing some things and there’s another group of guys that are doing other things’.
And that was about, as I read that and I think it’s kind of played out to be accurate, is that was about personalities. Jimmy and crew had a view of a way to be… and some of the younger guys didn’t. That led to, over the course of a season, as adversity struck, a schism.
This is a basketball-related schism. The things, offensively, that are working are when the bigs work in tandem or the guards work in tandem. Separately. We do not have a lot of pick and roll. That looks good sometimes but it’s rare. It’s not a key part of their identity.
Same thing goes with transition defense. ‘The bigs are the problem’. Then the bigs go, ‘in the half-court defense, the guards are the problem’. Those are the basketball schisms, in my opinion.”Dane Moore – The Dane Moore NBA Podcast
KAT’s Absence Means What…?
Obviously, the Minnesota Timberwolves were on an ugly path had they continued to struggle with the two-big approach to modern basketball. But then, Karl-Anthony Towns was ruled out for at least 4-6 weeks, after sustaining a calf strain injury on Monday night vs the Washington Wizards.
After the injury, those in the Wolves organization bullish on making Gobert + KAT work will be forced to give way to a more conventional style. What will that look like and how successful will it be? What happens if wins start mounting? This is a team that has plenty of talent.
I guess we’ll cross that bridge if we come to it.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan