The Minnesota Timberwolves are not fun to watch right now

(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

With Monday’s loss to the Washington Wizards, the Minnesota Timberwolves fell to 10-11 on the season.

It’s been a frustrating season for the Timberwolves, a team with real expectations coming into this season after emptying their assets to acquire All-Star center Rudy Gobert over the summer. For the first time in a long time, Minnesota Timberwolves fans have had the reasonable expectation of a contending team, one capable of advancing beyond the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

The Wolves have been far from a contending team this season, unfortunately, with inconsistency being the theme of the season so far. On the court, the Wolves haven’t gotten consistent output from SG Anthony Edwards, PG D’Angelo Russell, and/or PF/C Karl-Anthony Towns, whether it’s on offense, defense, or both.

The problems that Gobert was brought in to solve have not yet been solved. As of November 29, 2022, the Minnesota Timberwolves rank 24th in defensive rebounding percentage, 20th in offensive rebounding, 15th in defensive rating, and 27th in second chance points allowed per game. Doubters of the Gobert trade are being proven right about the small ball being effective against Gobert, as the Wolves have allowed the most three-point attempts of any team in the NBA this season.

Minnesota Timberwolve struggle at defending the perimeter

Additionally, the team ranks 25th in opposing three-point shooting percentage – so not only are opponents shooting a ton of threes against the Wolves, but they are also making them at a high clip. It seems like everyone has the playbook on the Wolves except, well, the Wolves, who knew exactly what they were getting when acquiring Gobert.

The most frustrating part of this season, however, is that this team does not consistently play hard. The Wolves consistently show a lack of focus on offense and poor effort in transition defense, ranking 26th in turnovers, and 27th in points allowed from turnovers.

Beyond numbers, this team just doesn’t pass the eyeball test when it comes to effort, whether it’s Anthony Edwards showing poor body language on the court, Karl-Anthony Towns recklessly flailing at both ends, visible on-court arguments between players, Jaden McDaniels being the only player consistently getting back in transition, the foreseeably ineffective defensive scheme that leaks open three’s left and right, or a complete lack of perimeter defense in general.

All this is to say: the Timberwolves have not been very fun to watch this year.

The booing from fans at Target Center has been completely warranted this season. There have been some truly unwatchable stretches of basketball played in front of them this season relative to the reasonable expectations of a competitive team in the Western Conference.

Though some players have expressed their displeasure with Wolves fans booing them this season, there is still time for this team to win back the fan base and play better basketball. To put things mildly, Chris Finch needs to adjust his scheme and coach better, and the players need to play harder and with more focus. Target Center’s crowd proved how much of an asset it can be in last year’s playoffs, and winning back that crowd will be an important step in salvaging this season.

At the very least, though, the Wolves need to play more ‘watchable’ basketball. 

What does ‘watchable’ basketball look like? Hustling and scrambling on defense (see Jarred Vanderbilt and Patrick Beverly), positive body language, sharing the ball on offense, reducing silly turnovers, fighting for rebounds, and a consistent, elite level of focus and intensity on both ends of the floor.

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