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Keys to the Wolf Den: Energy and Tweaking the Starting Lineup

Timber WolfAnalyst IIJanuary 3, 2010

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 28: Damien Wilkins #3 of the Minnesota Timberwolves celebrates with teammates and fans after scoring the game-winning shot at the buzzer against the New Jersey Nets at the Target Center on October 28, 2009 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Timberwolves defeated the Nets 95-93. (Photo by Genevieve Ross/Getty Images)
Genevieve Ross/Getty Images

As a Wolves fan and writer, I am disgusted at times watching the Timberwolves play. Not because shots don't fall and not because they turn the ball over, but when the Wolves play with no energy.

Of course I think it's possible to win 24+ games next season for them—the Oklahoma City Thunder started 3-29 for their first 32 games and went on to win 24.

But the Timberwolves are a completely different team when they refuse to hesitate on offense and defense.

The Wolves are perfectly capable of getting stops, hitting shots, and rebounding the ball with any team in the NBA, as long as they are playing with the energy.

In a loss to the Indiana Pacers, a team that's struggling mightily right now, the Wolves trailed by 29 points at one point in the second quarter, and gave up 122 points on the night. A complete defensive disappointment for a team that's missing it's top three players.

In the second half, the Wolves turned up the energy, got stops, grabbed rebounds, and hustled the entire half, but it was their lackadasial effort in their first half that buried them a hole that only Kobe Bryant himself could dig a hole out of.

Kurt Rambis has the Wolves playing decent basketball, but if the energy isn't there, there's absolutely no real team on the court without the energy. Kurt Rambis has stated time and time again, "You can't guarantee that you'll play well, but you should always guarantee that your going to play hard."

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Orlando center Dwight Howard is often asked how his team wins games, and everything he states has something to do with "playing hard for 48 minutes", the length of an NBA game, minus the timeouts and foul calls.

Apparently, Kurt Rambis is right. The Wolves often times play with no heart or energy, and maybe it has something to do with the whole "four games in five nights" theory and the traveling, but as Kevin Love said, "We're young, so energy should never be an issue."

Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers said something that makes perfect sense to me. He stated that his teenage son had a tournament in which they were playing three or four games a day, and that you gotta play 100 percent each game, and that for professional basketball players, energy is not a concern for his players. That's why his Boston Celtics have been playoff bound and won an NBA title in 2008.

The Timberwolves are lacking in this department, and despite them knowing it, it appears that their youth and inexperience is the reason why when it should exactly the opposite. It should be that because they are young and inexperienced, it would drive them to play harder and hustle harder to make up for that.

Anywhoo...

I recently have watched Wayne Ellington in the Indiana Pacers game, and this coming right after I wrote an article about him, and after his career high 16 points in 28 minutes, I feel that a lineup change is in order.

Wayne has been showing tremendous consistency over the last five games, finishing his plays, knocking down his shots, and even passing the ball for an assist when needed.

Corey Brewer hasn't been hurting the team as much as before; in fact, if he has an off night, his attempts are usually low. I propose that the Wolves move Damien Wilkins to the bench and allow Wayne Ellington to start at the two-guard.

Wayne seems to have a Kevin Love effect and just sparks energy into the team, and following his 16 point, six rebound, five assist game, shooting 6-11 from the field and 3-5 from the 3-point line, he's possibly the Wolves best shooter right now, and lately has been getting starters minutes.

Just a thought.

Thanks for reading!

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