What’s up: The Timberwolves, who were supposed to be one of this season’s most improved teams, have instead struggled, entering the weekend with the third-worst record in the NBA.
Background: Finally, Ricky Rubio, Minnesota’s starting point guard, couldn’t hold his disappointment any longer. Detroit’s easy-looking 117-90 victory over the Timberwolves on Friday extended an unexpected miserable start. “We can accept making mistakes and (when we) don’t make shots,” Rubio told reporters after the game. “Playing with no heart, with no desire, it’s just awful. Right now, it’s just bad. And it seems like we didn’t care.” How surprising is it? The Timberwolves were the eighth mostwagered-on team to win the NBA title before the season, according to Bovada sports book. They started the season tied with Portland, which was in the second round of the playoffs last season, with the 12th-best odds to win the NBA title. That’s how much most thought of the Timberwolves, who won just 29 games last season. But now they’re 6-17, haven’t won a home game since Nov. 17, and are staring at a date with the Golden State Warriors on Sunday.
Dempsey’s take: The combination of last season’s rookie of the year, Karl-Anthony Towns; the high-flying two-time slam dunk champion, Zach LaVine; uber-athletic Andrew Wiggins; and reinvigorated coach Tom Thibodeau was an equation that was supposed to equal wins and the playoffs. But the start has been rough. Keeping it together will be tough. Frustration has already set in, and with young players throughout the team, keeping them bought in to the message is crucial. The Timberwolves are one of the season’s bigger disappointments right now, and there isn’t any obvious light ending this tunnel.