DALLAS – Undermanned and undersized, the Timberwolves played on with only two true, healthy big men available Sunday in Dallas.
Wolves interim head coach Sam Mitchell knows his team needs help.
He also knows he’s probably going to have to wait for it.
Veteran Andre Miller’s release on Thursday left the Wolves with 14 players on a 15-man roster. Veteran Kevin Martin’s release by Tuesday night, if it happens, would bring that number to 13. Add injured Nemanja Bjelica, Kevin Garnett, Nikola Pekovic and Mitchell played just eight men Sunday after not using Martin for a second consecutive night.
“I hope so at some point because we’re awfully thin,” Mitchell said when asked if the team will sign a player. “After you get past K.A.T. [Karl-Anthony Towns] and G [Gorgui Dieng] we don’t have any size.”
Mitchell acknowledged nothing probably will happen until perhaps quite some time after Tuesday night’s 11 p.m. deadline for players to be bought out of their contracts and waived so they can sign with other teams in time to be eligible for the playoffs.
Mitchell said the Wolves will be patient while released players sign with teams aimed at the playoffs. They can wait and hope that a veteran — such as power forward Jason Thompson, perhaps — is available or sign one of the D League’s top big men.
“After the dust settles, there are going to be some guys out there we’ll want to look at,” Mitchell said. “You don’t want to do it too fast because you don’t want to fill a spot and then someone becomes available. There are only so many playoff teams and only so many roster spots.”
On Academy Awards night, the reviews kept rolling in Sunday on Towns, the overwhelming favorite for Rookie of the Year honors this season. This time, it was an unexpected one from usually understated Dallas coach Rick Carlisle.
“I don’t know the last time I’ve ever said this about a rookie player, but he’s a great player,” Carlisle said. “He has become a great player. He keeps things simple. He has a full skill set … I’m extremely impressed with him. The next generation of players are going to be guys like that, who have great size and length and still can play the four [power forward]: those super athletes with super length that are still damn quick and can do anything on the basketball court.”
• Wolves rookie Tyus Jones made a difficult three-point shot at a quarter’s buzzer Sunday for the second time in as many nights. He closed Saturday’s first quarter with a 28-footer, then made a 27-footer to bring the Wolves within 25 points after three quarters. “I’m just trying to make plays,” Jones said.
• Golden State guard Stephen Curry’s ridiculously long three-pointer that beat Oklahoma City in overtime Saturday was a topic of conversation before Sunday’s game in Dallas. “I fully expected him to make the shot,” Carlisle said. “I’ve seen the clips of him practicing that before games. Sometimes you just sense this is it.”