Minnesota Timberwolves: Defense Is the Reason They're Becoming Perennial Losers

Joseph FafinskiCorrespondent IFebruary 26, 2011

PHOENIX - DECEMBER 15:  Darko Milicic #31 of the Minnesota Timberwolves gets hit in the face by the ball as Steve Nash #13 of the Phoenix Suns loses control during the NBA game at US Airways Center on December 15, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Timberwolves 128-122. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

When one reflects upon the dismal 13-46 record the Minnesota Timberwolves sport, immediately they may think it has a lot to do with coaching and the lack of any chemistry going on with the club.

The fact of the matter is the perpetual reason for the Timberwolves' (less than) mediocrity has to do with their defensive skills or lack thereof.

The team has a decent offense, led by All-Star Kevin Love and hand-me-down Michael Beasley, that averages 101.3 points per game, good for 10th in the league. 

However, the defensive numbers are staggering. The Wolves give up 107.4 points per game.

That is an enormous number to be giving the opposing team night after night.

If the Wolves are to contend sometime in the near future, they have to improve on the defensive side of the court. Love's gigantic offensive numbers aren't going to be enough when he doesn't play adequate defense.

I know the Timberwolves fans are going to drill me for this, but I don't care. Corey Brewer was our greatest defensive asset, and now that I think about it more and more, I'm starting to wonder if trading him was the right decision.

Take a look at the roster now, and tell me how the T'Wolves have the defensive talent necessary to compete.

It's a sheer impossibility. Sure, Wes Johnson may have spurts of greatness and Darko Milcic may have great moments with his swats, but ultimately there is not enough help to have me form a statement about anyone on this team that has the words "great defense" in it.

I read an article yesterday by another Timberwolves writer who suggested we be upset general manager David Kahn didn't go out and grab the Clippers' Baron Davis.

Now that I think about it, I couldn't agree more with him. Davis is one of the best point guards at one-on-one defense, and he would've provided astronomical changes at the position.

Instead of being eager during the trade deadline to acquire players like Davis, Kahn simply was reluctant to make any move, further angering the already fragile-minded Wolves fans.

Now that coach Kurt Rambis must work with what Kahn has handed him, it is all up to the players to start playing good defense and make the fans proud.

This problem can be rooted easily by taking a look at that simply magical 2003-04 team.

Kevin Garnett was the anchor of both sides of the ball, defense included. Trenton Hassell was a lock-down defender Flip Saunders' club used to stop guys like Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter. Complimentary guys like Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell didn't have bad defense, either.

Who is the anchor of the 2010-11 Wolves' defensive unit?

Surely it isn't K-Love, whose renowned game translates only to scoring and rebounding. If the Wolves want to win again, he must hone his skills during the offseason.

No cigar with Beasley, whose D is an improvement over the miserable Miami days but still not good enough.

Defense truly is the main problem for Minnesota, more so than coaching, management, the turnover or the lack of a supporting cast for Love.

In order to begin turning around this franchise, one thing needs to be done: improving on the defensive end.