In a few years, Minnesota is poised to be the team challenging Golden State for the Western Conference crown — and more. This young roster has that kind of potential, and now it has a coach in Tom Thibodeau who can get them over the top.
But learning to win in the NBA is a process. Karl-Anthony Towns is insistent that the Timberwolves take their first step this season and make the playoffs. Look at what he told Jared Zwerling of the NBAPA’s official site:
“We’ve got to make the playoffs. We’ve got to do something special, and it’s up to us to continue to work and to make that happen.”
Minnesota making the playoffs could happen. The Wolves about average offense last season should improve as Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine and the rest of a talented core take steps forward. However, the real test is how much Thibodeau can improve their bottom-five defense — get that to average and this team has a shot at the postseason. They would likely be in a fight with teams such as Memphis and Denver the final playoff slot or two in the conference.
Towns likes playing for Thibodeau.
He’s taught me a lot so far. He’s really smart, he’s a great guy. I look at him not even as my coach, but as a good friend of mine, and that’s how it has to be. If we want to be able to go to another spot to something greater, we have to always be on the same page and have a good rapport. That’s what we do have.
The star player and coach having a good relationship matters (although mostly for the coach, he’s the one that almost always pays a price when it goes wrong). In this case, Towns and Thibodeau could lead this team a long way in the next few years.