Wolves Hopeful Despite Season of Frustration and Inconsistency
The Minnesota Timberwolves won’t admit it, but they are glad the season is over.
They didn’t have to express it with words, their body language told the story. Faces were long and sighs of frustration were endless in the Wolves locker room following their seaso- ending 103-98 loss to the Pistons.
It’s hard to imagine that any other emotions would be appropriate after cementing themselves as the worst team, at least record-wise, in franchise history.
“You never want the season to end because you always want to keep playing basketball. But if its only fifteen [wins], or whatever, its been a long season,” said Corey Brewer. “Its good to start over, and we can start from scratch next year.”
The Timberwolves tied a franchise worst 15-wins, a record they now share with the 1991-92 team.
Even the chance to avoid setting the franchise worst mark was not enough for the Wolves to overcome a season long struggle with consistency. Minnesota blew an 11-point fourth quarter lead against Detroit, a story that played out all too often this year.
“So typical of us,” said Wolves head coach Kurt Rambis. “What’s happened to us in the last 25 games or so, we play really well for three quarters, almost three quarters and we collapse at the end of the third and it propels them in the fourth and we just play absolutely awful in the fourth.”
The Timberwolves knew the 2009-2010 season was going to be one of transition with rookie coach Rambis, who had never coached a complete season in the NBA.
The starting point guard duties were handed over to 21-year-old rookie Jonny Flynn who had never played in the triangle offense that Rambis tried to install. And, their top overall pick, Ricky Rubio, was still overseas getting oooohs and ahhhs, which adds a little extra salt to an already gaping wound.
So, the fact that the Wolves infamously made history is no shock, but it doesn’t lessen the disappointment.
“If we were in a situation where we thought we could win 55 games and we ended up with this, but we knew the record doesn’t mean anything to me, for futility. It’s just losing in a situation, ” said Rambis. “But the reality is in our situation, even if we had won 5-6 games in April, what does that change? Same situation, same environment, same moving forward process.”
Consistency afflicted the Wolves all season.
After an opening night win, Minnesota rumbled off 15 straight losses. Then came the good times. Before the All-Star break, Minnesota strung together a four -ame win streak, their best of the season. However, that streak was quickly followed by another 16-game slide through February and March.
Those long stretches of losing undoubtedly weighed on the locker room.
“I don’t think we gave up at all. I thought we fought until the end and tried to win every game, but some games we came up short, some games we competed, some games we gave away leads, and some games we came back from leads,” said Ryan Gomes.
“There was so many different ups and downs in the season, that’s why we are not in the playoff picture.”
There is no question the Wolves wish they could shake the memories of this season away like an Etch-A-Sketch. And yes, they are a long way from being considered a playoff contender, let alone a title contender, but a possible franchise changing draft pick, mixed in with an already young, talented roster
Continue develop combined with the winning mentality of their coaching staff, gives the franchise reasons to stay hopeful.
“It’s going to be an interesting summer,” said Gomes. “We have a coach that is going to be in place for the next couple of years and a general manager will be here for years to come. I think that the Timberwolves are moving in the right direction.”