The day after yet another close loss, interim coach Sam Mitchell said his young players are learning from their mistakes and, gradually, getting better as a team.Tuesday much of the practice focused on players working on indivudual skills with coaches.
“Our three most talented players are all 20 years old,’’ Mitchell said of Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine and Karl-Anthony Towns. “And we’ve been in every game, except maybe for one game, the Golden State game. Other than that we had a chance to win every game. And for a team last year that really didn’t play many competitive, close games. For our young guys to be in these situations, putting themselves in position night-in and night-out, I’m proud of them.’’
That said, everyone involved would like to see the Wolves start winning more of those games. Minnesota is mired in a four-game losing streak, matching their longest such streak of the season. Wednesday they host the Lakers in Kobe Bryant’s last NBA game in Minnesota.
Towns, Wiggins and LaVine were all one when Bryant played his first NBA game, so they all literally grew up watching Bryant. LaVine said Bryant was his favorite player. Towns said he was an honor to be able to play on the same court as Bryant, even for just one season.
Wolves interim coach Sam Mitchell both played and coached against Bryant; he was coaching Toronto when Bryant scored 81 against the Raptors in January of 2006.
“He is such a competitor,” Mitchell said of Bryant. “I tell people the best individual workout I ever saw was Kobe Bryant, in a gym, by himself, for an hour. You know, our game is going to miss him. Because he plays the game the right way, he plays hard, he never cheats the game. Never takes short cuts. You know, five championship rings and seven finals appearances? That speaks for itself.’’