Wolves Media Day Wrap and KG’s Practice Presence


I attended Wolves Media Day on behalf of AM 1390 The Fan in St. Cloud, and one of the quotes that exited Kevin Garnett‘s mouth was: “I’m definitely not a coach on the floor, but I am a voice in the locker-room.”

The first day of Wolves training camp was broadcast live on NBA TV. Like many other basketball junkies, I watched, observed, and learned.

The theme of the first practice was defense. New interim head coach Sam Mitchell knows that the Timberwolves need to be better defensively if they are planning to be an elite team in the coming years. Defense needs to be taught, and defense needs to be learned by the young Timberwolves players and who better to help than one of the best defenders of all-time in Garnett.

One of the most noticeable things was how Garnett handled the first practice. The coaches explained to the players correct defensive technique and a few plays later, he stopped everything to instruct the young pups.

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KG is one of the most competitive players that I have ever watched, and that’s why he’s my favorite player of all-time. Being ultra-competitive is who Kevin Garnett is and he is going to say something if it that needs to be said or instructed. Garnett does not want to call himself a coach on the floor, but that’s who he is. You can’t control who you are.

Rocky Balboa is a boxer. That’s who he is. That’s why he fought Apollo Creed after he retired in the second movie. He couldn’t stay away. Kevin Garnett is a coach on the floor and no matter what he says to the media, his competitiveness will shine through.

The Wolves need Kevin Garnett to be a coach on the floor because his knowledge both offensively and defensively needs to be taught to the young players. Coaches coach and coaches can explain things, but players like Kevin Garnett can actually see it and feel it on the court, which in turn, helps the young players understand it better.

Look at the 48-second mark in the video and you’ll see what I mean.

I want to briefly touch on a few quotes that I thought were informative from media day.

Last season, Flip Saunders wanted Andrew Wiggins to score inside before he expanded his range. This might be one difference between Mitchell and Saunders because I asked Mitchell if he would limit Karl-Anthony Towns to scoring inside first before expanding his range. His response:

"“We saw how he played in Kentucky and we think he has a tremendous skill-set. We are going to let Karl determine that by how he plays. We are going to put him in situations early in training camp and see how he responds and see where he’s most comfortable. I am not going to force him to play in one spot or the other. I’m going to let his natural ability and talent dictate that. The more success we can give these guys early with their natural ability, it will be easier for them to start learning other things. My approach will be to let them do what they do best.”"

I thought this quote had a lot of detail. Basically, Mitchell is saying that if Towns can prove to the coaches that he can shoot a 15-foot jumper consistently, then they will give Towns the green light. Towns has the ability to spread the floor with his jumper and it will help the Timberwolves offense become more lethal.

I also asked Shabazz Muhammad about developing counter-moves in the post. Shabazz responded with, “My right hand looks as good as left hand in the post and I can’t wait to show everybody.”

This is especially important for Muhammad. Defenses clearly push him to his right hand in the post area because he hasn’t shown that he can do much with his right hand. If it’s true that he has his right-handed jump hook down, defenses better watch out!

This next quote was one of the funniest quotes of the day and it came from Kevin Martin. He was asked how he scored 39 points with a broken wrist.

Martin responded, “Luck. And we were playing against the Knicks.”

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