The Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Los Angeles Lakers on Christmas Day, but they sure didn’t do it with a lot of speed.
If you closed out your Christmas Day watching the Minnesota Timberwolves play the Los Angeles Lakers on TNT, you saw a multitude of things. You saw a high scoring effort from Taj Gibson, sometimes some ugly basketball and slow offensive play from the Timberwolves. You head a lot about the Wolves’ offensive style on the TNT broadcast.
TNT pulled off an experiment of a broadcasting crew putting their excellent studio crew of Ernie Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley courtside as the commentators for the game. The broadcast wasn’t designed to attract new fans, but did show the peak of what NBA on TNT fans have come to love from that crew.
One of those things that people love is the brutal honesty of Charles Barkley. Multiple times throughout the game Barkley was incredibly critical of the Wolves’ play especially on offense. Barkley said the Wolves were shooting too many threes which is undoubtably a statement that can be debated. Something that can’t be debated is Barkley’s opinion, along with most of the crew, on the Wolves’ slow pace on offense.
Continually throughout the game, Smith and Barkley were heard asking the Wolves to push it and go fast. That rarely came to fruition. This lead to the pinnacle moment of the broadcast in Barkley perfectly describing the Timberwolves offense as a ‘prevent offense’.
It’s true. The Wolves continually walk the ball up the court, pass the ball around and force questionable shots in the later seconds of the shot clock. Minnesota rarely grabs the ball and runs which is a huge mistake considering their personnel.
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Frankly, Minnesota has too many weapons to not pick up the pace. Essentially the whole Timberwolves team is athletic enough to play a run and gun style and it’s the shame that they don’t. The presence of Jimmy Butler, Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns should make the team want to play a much faster style.
Granted, a fast pace offense is not the style of head coach Tom Thibodeau, but great coaches base their style on the players they have. It’s time for Thibodeau to show he’s a great coach and get his team to start playing with a much faster pace. His players can do it, let’s hope that Thibodeau can stomach it.
The Timberwolves return home on Wednesday for their next game. It’s a divisional matchup with the Denver Nuggets with a 7:00 tip from Target Center.