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Most recent 20 results returned for keyword: Thibs (Search this on MAP)

https://plus.google.com/106607903719943350413 Shane Lang : What team does Joakim go to now? I'm thinking Minnesota with Thibs.
What team does Joakim go to now? I'm thinking Minnesota with Thibs.
Joakim Noah has told teammates he's done with the Bulls
With very little trust in the direction the front office is taking with the Bulls, Noah has been telling teammates that it's time for him to go.
4 days ago - Via Reshared Post - View -
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https://plus.google.com/111429276509442296910 Breaking Duluth News : We have entered into the mocking phase of the National Basketball Association calendar year. As less...
We have entered into the mocking phase of the National Basketball Association calendar year. As less than a handful of elite teams remain hell bent on grasping a championship, the other 27 or 28 NBA franchises have begun scrambling their wits and resources with new coaches, extensive scouting and film study on collegiate and international players eligible for the June 23 draft, and financial spreadsheets and personnel dossiers on upcoming free agents and trade targets that can be added or subtracted in July. In other words, as a tiny fraction of the franchises lay it all out on the court before millions of viewers, the vast majority feverishly work behind the scenes, revamping their grand agendas in secrecy. It is a time when even idiotic speculation is accorded a hearing by fan bases starved for information; when heated debates rage over scenarios that will never come to pass; when the words “mock draft” become a deliciously delirious double entendre. Over the decades, the Minnesota Timberwolves have generally had wiser fan bases and dumber front offices that your typical NBA outfit, which has added a frothy, tragi-comical element to these late spring shenanigans. I usually opt for hibernation on Wolves-related issues in May. I’d much rather marvel at the postseason blossoming of the Oklahoma City Thunder, the mixture of mania and precision infusing LeBron James in Cleveland or the charismatic teamwork of the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx instead of tracking down footage of 7-foot Croatian teenager Dragan Bender playing for Maccabi FOX, Tel Aviv, in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague. This long history of ignorance spares me the embarrassment of even trying to project the future production and fit of kids on the basis of video highlights and lowlights. I make enough mistakes pontificating about players I’ve watched extensively, up close and in the flesh, at the NBA level. But it has been at least 12 years since followers of the Timberwolves could be as viably optimistic about the fortunes of the team as they are for the 2016-17 season. The Wolves already boast the most coveted collection of young, inexpensive talent in the NBA. They have just hired the most respected coach on the market, Tom Thibodeau, to fast-forward their development, adding President of Basketball Operations to his job titles to broaden his clout. The big things — cornerstone talent, and a proven, purposeful director — are in place. Consequently, it is easier to identify where weaknesses exist on the current roster and how they might be addressed in the months before the opening tip in late October. Put simply, it is simultaneously more fun and less fraught to contemplate these Wolves. And so, I succumb to the temptation — with the caveat that I have nearly zero direct knowledge about any of the potential draft choices and am thus relying on the consensus expertise that has developed around each player. Avenues of improvement: add or grow? For all the justified goodwill attending the Wolves current state of affairs, it helps to remember that the team’s won-lost record over the past two seasons is 45-119. To make the playoffs in 2016-17 — an ambitious but reasonable goal for this franchise — Minnesota will almost certainly have to win more than it loses over an 82-game slate. To accomplish such a remarkable improvement, the agenda-setting process facing Thibodeau and owner Glen Taylor this offseason seems logical enough. Where are the weaknesses? Are those deficiencies better addressed through the growth and mentorship of the current personnel, or by additions to the roster? And where adding players is the chosen remedy, is that better undertaken through the draft or free agency? The primary weaknesses on the Wolves were apparent to even casual observers: wretched team defense and anemic three-point shooting. Depending on your source, the Wolves ranked either 27th (nba.com) or 28th (basketball-reference.com) in the number of points yielded per possession last season, the most credible measure of a team’s defensive prowess. When it came to shooting treys, they ranked 29th in frequency and 25th in accuracy from long range. Thibodeau burnished his stellar reputation as both an assistant coach and a head coach on the basis of establishing a gritty, claustrophobia-inducing defensive identity. In his evaluation and interaction with some of the Wolves’ young, hyper-athletic swingmen, it will be fascinating to see how much he is able to banish the defensive cluelessness of Zach LaVine and Shabazz Muhammad and the defensive indifference of Andrew Wiggins from their current profiles. Thibodeau is less accomplished as an offensive tactician, including his wielding of the three-point weapon. During his five-year tenure coaching the Chicago Bulls, his teams never finished in the top half of the NBA in three-point attempts, although their accuracy from long-range always ranked higher than their frequency. The good news is that the Wolves could immediately improve this aspect of their performance with some common-sense tweaks in the offense. Breaking down the frequency of the team’s shots by distance, it is remarkable to notice that in increments of 0-3 feet, 3-10 feet, and 10-16 feet away from the basket, Minnesota attempted field goals in roughly the same mix as the NBA average. The blatant outliers occurred in percentage of long twos and threes. The Wolves launched a higher percentage of long two-pointers (shots attempted from 16 feet out to the three-point arc) than any other team — 23.9 percent of their total shots, way ahead of second-ranked Indiana, at 21.9 percent, and grossly above the NBA average of 16.2 percent.  By contrast, their 20.2 percent of three pointers taken in the shot mix was lower than everyone but Milwaukee (18.9 percent) and way below the NBA average of 28.5 percent. Was this strategy an appropriate accommodation of the personnel on last year’s roster? No, not really. Yes, the Wolves were marginally more accurate on long twos, 40 percent, than the NBA average of 39.8 percent. But that’s not enough of an edge to overcome the points they sacrificed denying treys, even when you consider that their three-point accuracy of 33.8 percent was lower than the NBA average of 35.4 percent. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that turning more of those long twos into three-point attempts will improve the team’s offensive efficiency, beginning with Zach LaVine, who sank 35.1 percent of his long twos versus 38.9 percent of his threes last season. And for a team that finished dead-last in the number of corner three-pointers taken, it might be nice to emphasize that feature next season, given that LaVine, Ricky Rubio, Wiggins and Muhammad all shot better than 40 percent from the corner in their scant opportunities last year. The point is that with the addition of Thibodeau and some meshing of strategy with the skill sets and growth of their young core, the Wolves have a chance to improve upon their two main weaknesses with just a marginal overhaul of the roster. Of the two flaws, however, team defense would appear to be the more intractable problem, even with Thibodeau in charge. Draft and free agency Okay, time to dive into the sordid netherworld of the mock drafts. For the first time in the history of the NBA lottery, the ping pong balls did not alter the order of the draft based on won-lost record, meaning that the Wolves, with the league’s fifth-worst winning percentage last season, will have the fifth pick. If Minnesota does not trade up or down from that slot, the mock consensus has the Wolves drafting either shooting guard Buddy Hield of Oklahoma or point guard Kris Dunn of Providence. Both are 22 years old with at least three years of college experience (Hield has four), meaning they are not “projects” needing an inordinate amount of time to develop. Both are athletically gifted, with the 6-4 Dunn being more physically dominant for his position than the 6-5 Hield. When it comes to addressing the Wolves needs, the consensus is that Hield is most attractive for his three-point shooting and Dunn for his rugged defense. My personal preference is an emphasis on defense, especially perimeter defenders who can guard athletic wingmen or “stretch” power forwards. A deadly three-point shooter like Hield would certainly be nice, but if he can’t defend on the wing, than his value depends on Thibodeau’s faith in turning Wiggins, LaVine or Muhammad into more competent defenders while honing the offense to emphasize their development from three-point range. Dunn’s defense would be welcome too, but mitigated by the fact that the Wolves already have a quality defender at the point in Ricky Rubio. (More on that in a moment.) Using the fifth overall pick in the draft as leverage for a bigger deal regarding a veteran is also very appealing. The draft “experts” don’t appear to believe that the more established wing stoppers and stretch-four defenders are worthy of being taken among the first five players. But there may be some further back in the draft that could help the Wolves. Jerry Zgoda of the Strib has reported that Thibodeau hit it off with 6-8 forward Ben Bentil at a pre-draft camp in Chicago last week. Bentil, 21, is a defensive-oriented wing defender who is expected to return to college if it doesn’t appear he will be taken in the first round. Acquiring a veteran while moving back to draft Bentil might be an option here. A hot scenario among the Wolves fan base has the Wolves packaging their top pick, LaVine, and Gorgui Dieng, for Chicago star swingman Jimmy Butler. It has been fueled by the mutual love Butler and Thibs had for each other when the coach was running the Bulls, and by the recent report that Thibs had hired Butler’s strength coach for the Wolves next season. These are exactly the kind of rabbit holes I avoid entering. There are too many variables for a deal this consequential to be bandied about seriously without more evidence that both sides want it to happen. In the realm of pure speculation, I’d rather throw out some names of unrestricted free agents that might be both a good fit and interested in joining the Wolves. One would be forward Luol Deng, a past Thibs favorite in Chicago who has broadened his defensive expertise to guarding stretch power forwards during his time in Miami. Deng is also a capable three-point shooter, a respected veteran, and a player well versed in Thibodeau’s systems and methods on both sides of the ball. Another possibility is multiple all-star Al Horford, a center-forward who seems ready to part ways with Atlanta. As a longtime mentor and role model to cornerstone Karl-Anthony Towns, Horford is another tremendous character guy in the locker room, a burgeoning three-point shooter, and an ideal complement to the Towns-Dieng front court rotation that may or may not have Kevin Garnett around to shore up the defense next season. In the inflationary world of NBA contracts, Horford and probably Deng will command maximum salaries. The key negotiation point would be how many years they need — Deng is 31, Horford is 30, and both have logged a lot of hard NBA minutes thus far in their careers. As a backup plan, a more physical but limited role player, like burly center Zaza Pachulia, would be a cheaper option as an unrestricted free agent signing. Defending Rubio. Again Amid all the Wolves-related chatter since the end of the season, the notion of Rubio’s value to the franchise seems to remain a debatable topic of conversation. So let’s go another round. There have always been Rubio detractors within the Wolves organization, which partially accounts for the disastrous LaVine experiment at the point and the commentary of Kevin Lynch on the Wolves’ postgame broadcasts, where Rubio is criticized more than any other prominent member of the roster. The fact that Thibodeau did not mention Rubio at his introductory press conference, and that the point guard Dunn is frequently cited as a potential draft pick for Minnesota, fuels the notion that Rubio’s standing within the organization remains tenuous. I am well-acquainted with the anti-Rubio arguments and have some empathy for them. Accurate long-range shooting and reliable scoring in general are crucial components of successful franchises in the modern NBA. The point guards of the four remaining teams in the playoffs are Steph Curry, Russell Westbrook, Kyrie Irving and Kyle Lowry. Rubio can’t hold a candle to any of them in terms of scoring, and he never will. Furthermore, this deficiency becomes more pronounced in the playoffs, where teams relentlessly attack weaknesses until adjustments are made over the course of a four-to-seven-game series. For all his improvement as a shooter last season, Rubio does not exude confidence and swagger in that aspect of his game (to be fair, neither does Lowry). The crucible of the NBA playoffs, where Rubio has no experience thus far, will up the pressure to produce and gnaw at his self-esteem. All that said, addressing concerns about Rubio at the point in the playoffs should rank around 48th on the Wolves priority list. I believe Thibodeau is smart enough to realize that. He mentioned other Timberwolves at the press conference because they were sitting in the audience in front of him (Rubio was already back in Europe). As for picking Dunn, why not ensure that Thibs doesn’t burn out the injury-prone Rubio with his relentless defensive schemes; ones in which Rubio seems uniquely suited to help him execute? The Wolves can’t afford to flip the keys to a physically overmatched Tyus Jones too often, which will cause Thibs to rely too extensively on Rubio without a quality backup. If Dunn lives up to his pedigree and becomes a potential two-way star, well, that’s a great problem to have. Rubio, whose relatively inexpensive contract will expire before Dunn’s rookie deal would evaporate in 2019-20, remains a tremendous asset. Now I’ll stop damning Rubio with faint praise and begin the rebuttal. During his five years with the Wolves, the team has compiled a dreadful won-lost record of 142-252, or a whopping 110 games below .500. Yet in the 8,748 minutes Rubio has logged during that tenure (46 percent of the total playing time), Minnesota outperforms their opponents by two points per 100 possessions according to basketball-reference.com. In the 54 percent of the time he is not on the court, the Wolves are 7.2 points per 100 possessions worse than the opposition, for a net impact of 9.2 points. Why is Rubio so valuable? Despite his notorious 36.8 percent shooting from the field, the Wolves offense is 5.2 points better when he plays because of the timing and vision of his passing and his ability to generate transition opportunities with steals and on-ball defense. Yes, he’s been injury-prone, playing more than 70 games only twice in those five years. But in those two healthy seasons, including last year, he ranked in the top five in assists and the top three in steals. His career assist-to-turnover ratio is 8.3-to-2.8. The steals are one reason why the Wolves have allowed 3.9 fewer points per 100 possessions when he plays compared to when he doesn’t. He actually has become a better defender by gambling less in recent years and playing more rugged positional defense. The glorious sense of anticipation that fuels his offensive ball movement contributes to him denying dribble penetration and positioning to the man he is covering. I don’t see how Thibodeau doesn’t already know, and cherish, all this. Which brings us back to the big issue: Accurate shooting. Fortunately, with his typical genius basketball IQ and competitive drive, Rubio has figured out a way to diminish this ugly aspect of his game, to an extent that will hearten his defenders. The three most efficient ways to score in the NBA are right at the rim, from three-point territory and at the free-throw line. Last season, Rubio increased his shooting accuracy at the rim to a career-high 51.7 percent. More importantly, he took far more three-pointes and drew far more fouls than at any point in his career. His three-point shooting was still below average at 32.6 percent, but higher overall than if he’d been clanking two-pointers at a slightly better rate. And his free throw percentage was a career high 84.7 percent. The most comprehensive NBA statistic for shooting prowess is true shooting percent (TS%), which factors in two-pointers, three-pointers and free throws. According to nba.com, Rubio’s TS% was 52.9 percent in the 2015-16 season. Among other point guards, that was better than Derrick Rose (47.9). It was better than John Wall (51.0). It was better than Ty Lawson, Elfrid Payton, Rajon Rondo, Dennis Schroeder, Cory Joseph, Michael Carter-Williams, and Raymond Felton. Among shooting guards, it was better than Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Danny Green, Monta Ellis, Marco Bellinelli and many others. Rubio’s 52.9 true shooting percentage was the same as the player who just won the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award for his scoring off the bench — Jamal Crawford of the Clippers. In other words, if Rubio’s shooting is the problem, the Wolves are in very good shape indeed. | @MinnPost
What the Wolves need now
The big things are in place. Which means it's easier to identify where weaknesses exist on the Timberwolves' current roster — and how they might be addressed.
9 days ago - Via - View -
https://plus.google.com/100060246062064205692 Jonathan Hood (J-Hood) : Throwback mention from David Haugh on Thibs/Bulls.
Throwback mention from David Haugh on Thibs/Bulls.
Watch the video: Haugh & Carmen on JHood and Scal Bulls issues
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David Haugh and Mark Carmen discuss bulls on as a tional matters from a sound bite from Jonathan Hood and Brian Scalabrine via SiriusXM NBA radio.
15 days ago - Via Google+ - View -
https://plus.google.com/100178555938756609361 cedrick wilson : A good interview with the KAT.
A good interview with the KAT.
Q&A with Karl-Anthony Towns: Rookie of the Year Favorite Talks Thibs and More
The latest Minnesota Timberwolves news, trade rumors, scores, live coverage, free agent updates, power rankings, mock drafts and more
26 days ago - Via Community - View -
https://plus.google.com/115452855913569161228 NBA Fantasy Sport News : Q&A with Karl-Anthony Towns: Rookie of the Year Favorite Talks Thibs and More http://dlvr.it/LD3rFN ...
Q&A with Karl-Anthony Towns: Rookie of the Year Favorite Talks Thibs and More http://dlvr.it/LD3rFN #Basketball #NBA #NBANorthwest #fantasybasketball
Q&A with Karl-Anthony Towns: Rookie of the Year Favorite Talks Thibs and More
The latest Minnesota Timberwolves news, trade rumors, scores, live coverage, free agent updates, power rankings, mock drafts and more
26 days ago - Via - View -
https://plus.google.com/117206585209596584707 Zachary Bennett :

Wolves Wired: Quick Thoughts On Thibs, Layden and Prince
Part II: After Alan Horton left the studio, Zach Bennett, Tim Faklis and Tom Schreier offer thoughts on the hiring of Tom Thibodeau and Scott Layden, and how far the team can go this year. Plus the…
1 month ago - Via Google+ - View -
https://plus.google.com/112440219519680336272 Art Carter : Bye Byron! 👋 Too bad they didn't do it sooner to grab Thibs.
Bye Byron! 👋

Too bad they didn't do it sooner to grab Thibs.
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-RzgGG8IT3pQ/Vx2jg6FoR2I/AAAAAAABNXE/aijv5qeALhsLjP3xiCvtyFkWdcsPkwMqg/w506-h750/16%2B-%2B1
1 month ago - Via Community - View -
https://plus.google.com/112440219519680336272 Art Carter : Byron Scott is Fired!! Hallelujah! Too bad Thibs is already off the market.
Byron Scott is Fired!! Hallelujah! Too bad Thibs is already off the market.
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Q-esD-dfl_Y/Vx2h3qetE-I/AAAAAAABNWY/IRcjm33GGt0bXJLkzKYoFAOIow2MbkpQg/w506-h750/16%2B-%2B1
1 month ago - Via Google+ - View -
https://plus.google.com/112926974640351059829 Aaryn Kruger : Of course the #Lakers fire B. Scott after Brooks and Thibs are already taken...
Of course the #Lakers fire B. Scott after Brooks and Thibs are already taken...
1 month ago - Via Google+ - View -
https://plus.google.com/114877160174441382780 ThiBs :

Watch the video: htm
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1 month ago - Via - View -
https://plus.google.com/111429276509442296910 Breaking Duluth News : The big-picture narrative is simple: By hiring Tom Thibodeau to become their head coach and President...
The big-picture narrative is simple: By hiring Tom Thibodeau to become their head coach and President of Basketball Operations just one week after the close of the 2015-16 season, the Minnesota Timberwolves have conjoined the most respected and proven motivator of players available on the market with the most promising young roster in the NBA. Thibodeau is a solid, safe, sensible choice. He brings the near-certainty of immediate improvement and the high likelihood of a stable, successful culture to a franchise that has not only missed the playoffs for 12 straight years, but has rebuilt itself so feebly and unsustainably during that time that it has increased its win total six of the past eight seasons without ever compiling a winning record. When reflecting upon the Thibodeau hire, “culture” is the pertinent word. His inexorable work ethic leaves no time for a spouse or children. His strategies and concepts are less art than relentless craft, born of more profound preparation and cogitation than most any of his peers. His expressions of those strategies are blunt, detailed, repetitious and demanding — he speaks with a croaky voice during much of the NBA season due to his ongoing exhortations in practice and games. That he arrives for work early and leaves late is almost window dressing, because unofficially he is almost never “off the job” anyway, as he obsessively tries to surmount each obstacle and break the codes that prevent him from winning 82 games in the 82-game regular season. His example promotes accountability, but he talks his walk too, compelling his players to recognize within themselves and among each other what is going wrong and why, and to rectify it. In 2010, he took over a Chicago Bulls team that had won half of its games two years in a row under coach Vinny Del Negro. He promptly improved that 41-41 record to 62-20, winning Coach of the Year honors while his point guard, Derrick Rose, captured the MVP award. It was the last season Rose would ever be in peak physical condition. His welter of injuries put Thibs and the Bulls in limbo, unwilling to cut bait and move on without their superstar and thus sabotaged by his setbacks. During the lockout-shortened 2011-12 campaign, the Bulls were 32-7 with Rose on the court and finished 50-16 overall. The point guard played a combined 61 games over Thibs’ final three seasons in Chicago (logging zero, 10, and 51 games, respectively) as the Bulls won 45, 48 and 50 games, respectively in those 82-game seasons. The health of Rose was the largest factor in what became the Bulls’ increasingly frustrating sense of stalled hopes and underachievement, but it was hardly the only cause. There was the growing sense that Thibodeau’s overreliance on the players he trusted most to win as many games as possible was penny-wise and pound-foolish, hurting the team’s composite performance. The best example of this involves the difference between average minutes played per game and total minutes played overall. During Thibodeau’s last four years in Chicago, Luol Deng led the NBA in minutes per game in the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons, while Jimmy Butler finished second in minutes per game in 2013-14 and led the NBA in that category in 2014-15. Yet because they were besieged by nagging injuries, the highest ranking in total minutes for either of those players was Deng finishing 13th in 2012-13, and in the other three seasons, they didn’t crack the top 20. There will be plenty of debate over whether or not Thibs pushes his players too hard too often to achieve maximum efficiency from their efforts. There is ammunition for the argument that the Bulls’ medical staff was not top-notch and the stress of Rose’s chronic unavailability certainly didn’t help relations between the coach and the executives in the front office who eventually fired him after the 2014-15 season. The greater point here gets back to culture. For the 2015-16 season, the Bulls brought in Fred Hoiberg, a highly respected college coach at Iowa State (and cherished Timberwolf for his key contribution to the franchise’s best season in 2003-04). Hoiberg had grand plans to open up the offense and embrace the current NBA vogue of “pace and space” with more transition play and three-point shooting. But less than a third of the way into the season, Butler called out Hoiberg for not getting on the players, including himself, when they fail to execute the game plan. Although once again beset by a Rose injury, the Bulls underachieved relative to their talent level, missing the playoffs for the first time in seven years amid reports of locker room friction and squabbles among Butler and another Thibs favorite, Joakim Noah, over pecking-order leadership. More than anything, Hoiberg’s initial season was torpedoed by his inability to reinforce the culture of accountability ingrained by Thibodeau; and his failure to erase and replace the players’ trust in the painstaking style of play that Thibs’ instituted. It was a season-long identity crisis. Thibs way is not the freeway By contrast, the Wolves have never been even remotely successful for long enough to establish an identity (beyond chronic incompetence) over the past dozen seasons. More than anything, the arrival of Thibs is being celebrated because it imposes a successful template on a historically chaotic and clueless franchise, at precisely the time when the team has stockpiled an enviable array of remarkably talented young players. But how well does the template match up with the talent? That’s obviously impossible to know before the coach has even assembled a staff or held a practice. To the extent there are mismatches between the virtues of his system and the skills of his players, the hope is for flexibility and adjustments to generate the best possible synergy. It is encouraging that Thibodeau spent his year out of the NBA dropping in on other successful franchises to see how they operate, providing him with a broader perspective that is impossible to obtain when you are hewing to the needs of your own team. It is also encouraging that the cornerstones are 20-year old Karl-Anthony Towns and 21-year old Andrew Wiggins, and that the key performers abetting that pair are likewise young. As a group, they will perhaps be irritating to Thibs in their immaturity but also thus more likely to be malleable to his successful methods. All that said, it isn’t hard to spot some clear cut pros and cons in this matchup between the new franchise Svengali and the team’s dazzling but still developing athletes. For example, Thibodeau does not play “pace and space.” During his five years in Chicago, the Bulls never finished out of the bottom ten teams in pace of play, ranking 23rd (in both 2010-11 and 2014-15), 27th (2012-13), 28th (2011-12) and 29th (in 2013-14) in the 30-team NBA. At the same time, Chicago never cracked the top half of the NBA is the number of three-pointers attempted, ranging anywhere from 16th to 29th in that five-year span, although it is significant to note that their shooting percentage from long range always ranked higher than their proclivity to take them. No, the culture of Thibodeau is about his signature defense, which prioritizes rugged five-player teamwork and dedication to the coach’s prevailing schemes in the half-court. The Bulls teams under Thibs, like the Celtics teams when he was defensive coordinator under head coach Doc Rivers, don’t gamble, they suffocate. The Bulls never ranked in the top 10 in turnover percentage forced on opponents (finishing 11th, 28th, 22nd, 15th, and 29th in his five years there) but always were a top ten defense in lowest field goal percentage allowed from both two-point and three-point range, enabling them to be a top ten defense overall in terms of points allowed per possession in every year but Thibs’ final season in 2014-15, when they were 11th.) By contrast, Chicago’s offensive rating under Thibs (points scored per possession according to Basketball-Reference.com, the source of all the rankings cited in his piece), were out of the top ten every year but 2011-12, when they ranked 5th.  And they plummeted into the bottom ten the two years when Rose was sidelined for all but ten games. Quick, thumbnail takes on Thibs and individual players Thibs and Towns This is how champions are created: A smart, demanding coach and a phenomenally talented but team-oriented big man. It is not far-fetched to imagine Thibodeau as Gregg Popovich to Towns’ Tim Duncan. Although not known for his offensive acumen, Thibs did a wonderful job using Joakim Noah as a facilitator in the Bulls set plays. And on defense, Towns has the raw ability to grab rebounds and block shots. What he needs to refine and elevate those skills are increased sinew and muscle mass, greater experience in decision-making, and a coherent system that demands accountability from his teammates as well as himself. Time and Thibs will check all those boxes in boldface. Thibs and Wiggins One of the two most consequential relationships for the Timberwolves moving forward. Because of his extraordinary athleticism, Wiggins came into the NBA with the reputation for being a wing-stopper, a lockdown defender. He hasn’t delivered on that promise. Part of it is the load he has had to bear on offense and he chaos around him. But part of it has been his indifference; his penchant for occasionally not getting back diligently in transition, rotating alertly on pick-and-roll switches and help coverage, or simple readiness, in his stance, to crowd the dribbler in advance of screens. Star Tribune beat writer Jerry Zgoda scored an extensive interview with Thibs after he was hired, printed in Friday’s paper. His remarks about Wiggins and defense are worth quoting in full: I think the challenge — not only him but his teammates — is there is going to have to be dramatic improvement defensively. You have to make a commitment in that area. The players are too good in this league to guard individually. You need to have five-man defense in all aspects. If one guy’s not doing his job, the group is going to look bad. Message sent. Wiggins has never had a coach as tough as Thibodeau. Both Flip Saunders and Sam Mitchell prodded him, but learned that yelling and heightened demands weren’t the best way to get through to him. Just before Mitchell was fired, Wiggins professed great affection and loyalty toward him. In addition, Wiggins’ sporadic motivation to fully engage the entire spectrum of his skills has been an issue at least as far back as his lone year in college at Kansas. This is going to be a fascinating relationship to watch. Thibs and Rubio The other consequential relationship for the Wolves’ rapid ascent up the standings. The coach and the point guard are going to love and recognize the overweening will to win that is their kindred spirit. But there are issues to overcome. First, Rubio is the barometer for Thibs’ ability to restrain himself from burning out his favorite players. Rubio makes up for his athletic shortcomings with maniacal effort in both practice and games. Not coincidentally, he has been injury prone during his career. Thibs will love the way Rubio leads on the floor, especially on defense, and unless the team comes up with a very good backup floor general, the drop off from Rubio will be steep. The potions and elixirs of Wolves medicine man Arnie Kander could be crucial. The second major issue is how much freedom Rubio has to follow his instincts. On defense, he has curbed, but not eliminated, his gambles for steals and staying with his man on pick and rolls beyond the point where he should switch. This is an area where the coach and player will likely strike a compromise. The freedom for Rubio on offense is more problematical. Rubio proved how much more productive the Wolves could be pushing the ball in transition. Some of that was breakneck dribbles after a rapid outlet pass from Towns, but some of it was daring long passes to a streaking Wiggins or LaVine. Will Thibs’ countenance the risk to get the reward? If not, he takes some fun out of the game for fans and players alike. Thibs and LaVine Both Saunders and Mitchell were beguiled by LaVine’s flashes of stardom and exasperated by his slippery grasp on the fundamentals of the game. A coach like Thibs is apt to be less beguiled and more exasperated. And yet, here is a case where the time put in on LaVine’s game (by himself and the coaches) may have put him in a position to grow, if not completely thrive, under Thibs. He will likely get yanked more often than any player (but not as consequentially as Wiggins), and it remains an open question whether he will ever have the discipline and the capacity to absorb the nuances of the game. But a curious thing about Thibodeau is his willingness to toss an offensive wild card into the mix —an Aaron Brooks or a Nate Robinson. Maybe LaVine is that off-the-bench sparkplug. In any event, the juxtaposition between Tom Thibodeau and Zach LaVine promises to be a wild and woolly but probably productive phenomenon. Thibs is too smart and LaVine too obviously talented in particular elements of the game for them not to arrive at some role here. But perhaps not as a starter or trusted rotation member unless LaVine can prove he can generate stops on defense. Thibs and the rest of the roster This team needs a few quality veterans to prevent Thibodeau from murdering his incompetent bench and callow starters, and to provide mentorship and avenues of communication between the coach and the locker room. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Wolves traded their draft pick. Even if that is not the way they choose to abet their veteran talent base, there are quality free agents on the market, including past Thibs favorites like Luol Deng, a 6-9 swingman currently starring in the playoffs for Miami, and Noah, a gritty big man who has been injury-prone but still tantalizes for his past versatility of skills, his inspirational leadership and his history with Thibs. Whoever gets added to the veteran core will have some bearing on the future of fourth-year players Gorgui Dieng and Shabazz Muhammad. Dieng was probably Mitchell’s top success story; a wonderful glue guy who absorbed harsh coaching and adapted his way into becoming an invaluable role player. Does he have a further upside under Thibs? A good, and tough, question. As for Bazzy, his unbelievable motor combined with Thibs’ unrelenting desire for excellence could produce a glorious supernova or be hazardous to the well-being of all concerned. It won’t be boring.   | @MinnPost
It won't be boring: How Tom Thibodeau is going to mesh with the Wolves' young roster
When reflecting upon the Thibodeau hire, “culture” is the pertinent word.
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