This normally would be the time of year the Timberwolves are hosting their first practices of the upcoming season. Instead, the team was able to work out as a group for the first time since the NBA postponed its season March 11 and the Wolves flew back from Houston to begin the long process of isolation, quarantining and navigating a way back to the floor.
After completing a two-day “hard” quarantine, they took the floor Wednesday, with coach Ryan Saunders saying the results were “a lot better than I expected it to be after a six-month hiatus.”
“This time is important, not just for them to get to know us and this system but for us to get to know them too,” Saunders said.
Over the next two weeks the Wolves will get to know each other well as they spend time together isolated in a hotel with daily testing to ensure it is safe to hold these workouts.
That’s something this team wasn’t able to do much before the pandemic derailed the season. President Gersson Rosas acquired several of the current team’s key pieces at the February trade deadline, including guard D’Angelo Russell.
“There was so much uncertainty over these past six months here,” Saunders said. “Finally we have a little bit of certainty you can say for the next couple weeks here. We know these are all the people that we’ll be interacting with, in person, the people that are just staying in that hotel and we know that there will be plenty of time for organic conversations as we get to dive deeper into who we are.”
There will be plenty of time to catch up in the hotel over pingpong or movies or whatever other amenities the Wolves have in their hotel.
“You never know when a conversation or a bonding moment will find its way into one of those interactions,” Saunders said. “We have a philosophy as a staff that we believe in organic, meaningful relationships and conversations and not trying to force things.”
Toward the end of the two weeks, the Wolves will hold scrimmages and the team is working on providing video and broadcast options for the workouts. As for what’s happening on the court, Saunders said the team is looking at more ways to get Karl-Anthony Towns the ball in the post.
“When you do have a big who is an effective post-up player, you want to get him in positions where he’s comfortable, too, and allow him to make plays with his talent and his creativity,” Saunders said.
They can finally test some of these ideas with the rest of the team on the floor.