Kevin Durant weighs in on up-and-coming Timberwolves
The Minnesota Timberwolves organization asserted itself as a team on the rise thanks to an active offseason highlighted by the acquisition of Jimmy Butler. But with the influx of talent — including bringing in Jeff Teague, Jamal Crawford and Taj Gibson — one is left to wonder how Tom Thibodeau will put together the pieces of an improved roster that already boasted young stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.
Kevin Durant knows firsthand how for a team to achieve the greater good the individual may have to sacrifice. This was of course the case when Durant made the Golden State Warriors the super-team to end all super-teams by signing with the squad last year.
The Warriors of course more than made things work, as the team’s superstars made the necessary adjustments to their individual games. The result? Running roughshod over the NBA in the postseason on the way to a convincing championship.
Durant wonders if the Timberwolves, who are expected to break a decade-plus playoff drought in 2017-18, will be able to replicate what the Warriors did with unselfish play and a team-first perspective. And if so, will T’wolves players be willing to make the needed sacrifices?
Durant joined Bill Simmons’ podcast — which premieres Monday — and the emerging Timberwolves were among the topics of conversation.
“So let’s go down the line with that,” Durant said, as transcribed by Pro Basketball Talk. “Now Teague. Can’t really shoot that well but he can play. He need the ball though. And Jimmy. He can shoot it, but he need a rhythm so he need the ball, too. Wiggins: He the same way. He need the ball. They can all score. They all good, but somebody gotta give up something….
“I’m just saying somebody will have to give up something in their games in order for it to work, and I believe that they will. But Towns needs to be the guy that they get the ball to, I think, because he’s so good. Jimmy needs to be facilitating. Wiggins is going to be the guy [when] you need a basket; he’s going to be the finisher. I think. If I was coaching the team on 2K that’s how I would play it.”
Durant is arguably accurate in his assessment of the Timberwolves. The onus will be on Thibodeau and his staff to convince the team’s star players that sacrifice — not to mention a commitment to defense — stands in the way of joining the ranks of the NBA’s elite. Will it happen? That remains to be seen.