MILWAUKEE — Tuesday night, Timberwolves coach Chris Finch watched film from the final 12 games of last season to help remind him what it looked like when the team's offense flowed smoother than it has over the first three games.
Finch also said he takes ownership of the offense's slow start.
"I think it's on me," Finch said. "We skipped steps just assuming we were going to pick up at a certain point. At times we've done that. Our overall understanding of the offense is better, our execution of it is not. So, I think that was just probably a result of maybe skipping some steps and we'll have to go back and cover some tracks now."
Specifically, the Wolves focused on ball movement in Tuesday's practice and trying to be quicker in their decision-making. It resulted in a competitive practice Finch described as a "little testy." He said the offense was "way more fluid" when he watched the tape from last season.
Finch also attributed some of the struggles to players such as center Karl-Anthony Towns and guards Anthony Edwards and D'Angelo Russell trying to have big seasons.
Those players have the ability to separate from the offense and make individual plays, but Finch said they are trying to do that too early in the shot clock through the first three games.
"That is the balance when you give everybody as much freedom as we do," Finch said. "... Kat, Ant, D-Lo, they have the license to break the offense, if you will, or be aggressive within it is probably a better way to put it. They can't just always live off doing it with the first pass or first action and I think that's where we're living right now."
Finch is also still trying to figure out rotations — how many guys to play in a given night and what combinations of players. Along those lines, Finch acknowledged he likely should have stuck with guard Patrick Beverley in the closing minutes against New Orleans on Monday.
"He had played well to finish that game," Finch said. "He was making shots, one of the few guys. Didn't get that one right. Generally we have a structure based on our opponent, based on how we want to try to match up a little bit. But we also go by feel, which we're not always going to get right."
Like the first time
Milwaukee was the location for Finch's first game as Wolves coach last season, only a few days after he came to the organization from Toronto.
"I was excited to be here then, I'm excited now," Finch said with a laugh Wednesday morning. "But yeah, walking into the hotel yesterday was a little bit, kind of, nostalgic — if you can be nostalgic after eight months."
The Wolves lost that game 139-112 on Feb. 23 during a period Finch said was a "whirlwind" of just trying to get to know everybody in the organization. Finch had never encountered a time with so much change in his coaching career.
"I've had some crazy basketball experiences, but that was unique," Finch said.
Wright to Iowa
The Wolves assigned former Champlin Park star McKinley Wright to the G-League affiliate in Iowa on Tuesday, with Finch saying they hope Wright will be able to fine-tune his knowledge of the system and play at the pace they like.
"He can do a better job of being a pace guard, living in the paint early, like within the first 10 seconds of the offense," Finch said. "He didn't necessarily have that kind of platform or opportunity with us. In practice he was OK at it, but I think he can be better.
"Just learning the game, particularly pick-and-roll reads, it's a different level than college. … We want him to stay confident and shoot the ball well within the flow of the offense. Just put the time in to get his reps up in the shooting."