Keys To the Wolf Den: Kevin Love, Defense, and the Triangle

Timber WolfAnalyst IIDecember 7, 2009

MINNEAPOLIS - OCTOBER 28: Wayne Ellington #19 of the Minnesota Timberwolves drives to the basket against the New Jersey Nets at the Target Center on October 28, 2009 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Timberwolves defeated the Nets 95-93. 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 Genevieve Ross/Getty Images)
Genevieve Ross/Getty Images

Over the last four games, the Wolves have scored at a respectable 50 percent from the field, resulting in winning two games out of four. Fifteen losses in a row according to ESPN put the Wolves on a "worst team of all time" delicacy...cough, cough.

Yet how do they retaliate to defeat the Denver Nuggets ending a 17 game winning streak for the Nuggets at the Pepsi Center, challenge the Memphis Grizzlies, and defeat the Utah Jazz on the Wolves home court in which they lost 9 games straight previous to that respective victory.?

If you could sum the answer up into one word, the word probably would babble Webster himself. Their are many reasons that the Wolves have had better success over the last four games.

The Triangle Offense

Watching a young inexperienced team starting to click really is starting to show me, as well as the world, how to play basketball. The basis of the triangle offense is that so everyone touches the ball, and it's reacting off the defense. In other words, utilizing what the defense gives you.

This could explain why seven Wolves scored in double digits last night. This can also explain why Corey Brewer might take 20 shots one game, and three shots the next. Simply put, the Wolves are starting to grasp the triangle.

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It's similar to when Al Jefferson get's double teamed and dishes the ball to the open man, or when Dwight Howard is in the middle with four outside shooters swinging the ball around to the open man to steadily keep pressure on the defense for an open shot.

The Timberwolves swing the ball a lot more, and this can explain why a guy like Ryan Gomes can go 9-10, 12-18, and 8-13 in three nights out of four. When you have a talent like Ryan who can actually hit an open shot, the only thing to do is what? Get open right?

When Gomes is open, he takes the shot, and because he can make them, he does?

Sounds simple? I know, I know.

The offense isn't running through Al Jefferson anymore, and because of that, when the Wolves have a good game, it's because the scoring is spread out, and it's efficient, simply because the Wolves are making good shot selections.

Once you put everything in perspective...A team wins when everyone is involved and making good shot selections. But isn't that the way basketball should be played? Fellow Wolves let me know something?


Simply put, the Wolves defense isn't that good, yet it isn't that bad either. The Wolves have above average defenders in Ryan Gomes, Corey Brewer, and Kevin Love. The Timberwolves however do steal the ball pretty well, and get plenty of deflections.

When the Wolves hustle, and play hard, they get stops, it's as simple as that. It doesn't matter if Jonny is picking your pocket, Corey Brewer's getting a block or a steal, or if Ryan Hollins is drawing a charge, the Wolves win games when they play as a team on the defensive end.

When the Wolves get a stop, Kevin Love throws an outlet pass, and viola, an easy transition bucket. Ultimately spiking the field goal percentage, and allowing the Wolves to entertain as well as win.

Jonny Flynn, Ramon Sessions, and Corey Brewer all thrive in an uptempo system, so it isn't hard to say how the Wolves will play after they are in full rhythm on the defensive end.

Kevin Love

It's almost like a fresh breeze hitting a tumbleweed when Kevin Love stepped onto the court. He immediately provides on difference on every single little thing the Wolves do, and for once it actually shows up on a stat sheet.

He's averaging a double double in 25 minutes, shooting the ball well, distributing the ball, playing hard and hustling on defense, commanding attention, kicking butt, and taking names. The energy given by Kevin Love is rubbed off on the Timberwolves, and right now, he's possibly the most consistent and complete Wolves player on the roster, due to the inexperience of Jonny Flynn, the limits of Ramon Sessions and everything with Al Jefferson and Corey Brewer's injury recoveries.

He's put his skills on full blast, and there's already a sense that he's VASTLY improved from last season. He's getting the same amount of minutes as he was in his rookie season, but he's posting better numbers

Rookie Season: 11 PPG, 9 RPG in 25 MPG

Sophomore Season: 14 PPG, 10.5 RPG in 25 MPG

Although it's a small sample, who cares? When Kevin Love got injured, the Wolves lost more than just the 14 points and 14 rebounds they had in the preseason. They lost heart, energy, hustle, and competitiveness, and now that it's back, "I'm loving it".

Thanks for reading!

P.S: Check out the new Jonny Flynn video by popular demand, an article on Ryan Gomes , and an article about head coach Kurt Rambis .