Min­nesota Timberwolves

The Denver Post - - SPORTS -

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.

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