Earlier in the season, starting wing Jimmy Butler jokingly/not jokingly said he’d talk to Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau about his heavy workload. CJ Fogler:
Then, starting power Taj Gibson recommended more bench minutes. Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic:
Now, starting point guard Jeff Teague is taking up the mantle. Krawczynski:
The average Timberwolves starter plays 34.8 minutes per game – far more than any other teams’ starters:
Butler, Gibson and Teague can state their cases. At times, they do look tired. Butler got hurt.
But Thibodeau seems set in his ways.
He values putting his best players (and Derrick Rose) on the court as much as possible. He believes in players developing sound habits through repetition and repetition and repetition and…
Thibodeau’s stance on these issues contributed to the Bulls firing him, and he still stuck with resting his top players less than other teams do. If losing the threat of losing his job didn’t sway him, I doubt these players will.
But they can try – with whatever energy they have left after playing for him.