The Wolves lost to Denver 117-110 at home Wednesday — the
fourth fifth loss in their last five six games — prompting a reflection from the faithful.
Is it time for Rick Adelman to seriously adjust the shortness of his bench as Andy G at Punch Drunk Wolves wonders aloud?
Adelman isn’t using a bench. And in turn, the bench is playing like s—. Is it the chicken or the egg? Would more faith in a second unit, over the course of increased sample size, lead to more consistent second-quarter production? Would more rest for the starters improve their defensive effort? Would playing some reserves like Gorgui Dieng, who don’t worry about their own foul trouble, help set a defensive tone where opponents don’t feel like they can pick whatever spot they like, on a given possession?
William Bohl at A Wolf Among Wolves has some nice quotes from Kevin Love and Corey Brewer…
Brewer, candid as always, elaborated on the mental state of the Timberwolves: “We’ve got to get some kind of swag, or energy. I was in Denver last year, and we thought we were the greatest team ever, even when we weren’t. We need to get an identity. We don’t have an identity yet.”
Love’s assessment of the loss, on the other hand, was practical (and succinct):
“We just need to play some f—–g defense.”
It’s impossible to quantify energy levels and difficult to identify what, precisely, “swag” is. So instead of focusing on those lacking aspects of the Wolves’ loss to the Nuggets, I’ll focus on a couple of plays that offer concrete examples of problems on the defensive end, namely, lack of communication and knowing when (and when not) to gamble on the perimeter.
Players can cite effort, because it’s the warrior’s mentality to run harder through the wall. Hard to deny the rotations sluggishness the last couple weeks. The schedule has been cited by Adelman (and others) for compounding the Wolves recent struggles on offense, but the defense has been getting all the attention lately.
Is it better for a team to play middling competition with little to no rest or is it better to play stiff competition with time to prepare? We’ll find out in the coming weeks, but with no tools in Adelman’s toolkit, it’s hard to blame the guy for not wanting to throw rookie foul machines like Gorgui Dieng out there and pleading for just giving them a try would seem the definition of panicking.