Last season, the Minnesota Timberwolves were so offensively deficient due to all of the injuries that they were dealing with that it was often painful to watch. Obviously not having Kevin Love on the floor is an enormous factor in that, but this team being one of the worst in the NBA offensively was due to more issues than just not having Love.
With a healthy love and solid offensive additions like Kevin Martin and Corey Brewer on the wings, though, the Wolves have been one of the more entertaining offensive teams in the league. Through 12 games they are in the top-10 in the league in terms of points per 100 possessions. What has been possibly as big of a surprise is that their defense by the numbers has been solid as well.
Over their first 12 games, the Timberwolves are allowing only 99 points per 100 possessions, the sixth best rate in the league. They may not have many individually great defenders, but they have guys that are solid and have a great understanding of how to play team defense which has produced solid results.
However, one of the issues that Minnesota has faced defensively this season is their lapses on the defensive end at times. I’m not sure the reason is apathy, lack of concentration or wanting to just exert energy on the other end of the floor, but there are times when the Wolves look far from the sixth ranked defense in the NBA.
Tuesday night against the Washington Wizards was certainly one big lapse for the Timberwolves. Though Minnesota shot well and put 100 points on the board, their lack of defense allowed the Wizards to shoot 48.2 percent from the floor, 46.7 percent from three, and score 104 points on the way to taking down Minnesota.
This Timberwolves team has the chance to be one of the better teams in the West this season, but that’s not going to happen if they don’t give consistent effort defensively. There’s no question that this offense is already thoroughly in-sync and that Rick Adelman has them cooking, but their offense isn’t going to mean a thing if they are giving up games to opponents like they did to Washington on Tuesday. Minnesota has to find a way to fix this problem going forward or it will likely be the fatal flaw for an otherwise impressive team.