No. 3: How are the defensive adjustments going for the Timberwolves?
Dane Moore gave a rundown of the differences he saw in the Wolves’ pick-and-roll coverage at practice. This tweet has videos from Moore and Timberwolves Clips so you can visualize what the approach might look like.
Moore also reported that Towns said he’s more comfortable defending at the level rather than dropping, and his slimmed-down physique should prove helpful in containing guards. It will also promote engagement across the defense as the Wolves try to dictate the offense instead of reacting and allowing ball handlers space to roam.
That being said, there are always concerns when transitioning to a new scheme. Will Towns venturing outside hurt the Wolves’ already porous rebounding? Will they adjust anything when Naz Reid, who said he’s more comfortable playing drop coverage, is on the floor?
And then there’s the adjustment for non-bigs. Britt Robson wrote for The Athletic (subscription required) about how Finch is going to call on perimeter players such as Russell and Edwards to be more accountable by limiting switching and reducing fouls and transition opportunities.
Same as the previous entries, the defense the Wolves play Monday — good or bad — isn’t a definitive indicator of what they will look like this season. They’re about a week into learning this system at training camp; they’re not going to become a top-10 defense overnight.
But with new defense-oriented rotation members, it will be interesting to see the early dynamics between the players as they look to build on the most crucial area in the team’s improvement efforts.