The Wolves spent a few hours at their practice facility Saturday. But they didn’t work their offense. The didn’t do anything, team-wise, on defense. There was no scrimmaging.
Instead, interim coach Sam Mitchell had his guys spend the entire time working on individual skills, starting with shooting. After Friday’s home loss to Detroit, Mitchell bemoaned his team’s lack of good shooting. And, while that problem isn’t going to be fixed with a two-hour session on individual work, Mitchell felt he had to start somewhere.
Indeed, Mitchell spent a good bit of time talking about how important it will be going forward, especially for the younger players, to spend their summers working on their skills here in Minnesota. And not, for example, spending those summer playing for national teams.
“We need guys to get their games overall better in the summertime,” Mitchell said. “It won’t happen playing on national teams. … At some point this summer, we have to convince guys to be here. I understand national pride and all that stuff. And I’m all for that. But this is your job. We have a place for them to be here every day. This summer, we’re going to want our guys to be here as much as possible getting better for the Timberwolves.’’
But back to Saturday. Mitchell had his guys shoot. A lot. Time was spent with guards on learning what to read when coming off the pick-and-roll. And a lot was done with ball-handling skills.
“We got guys 19, 20, they have to get better at that,” Mitchell said. “If they’re looking at the ball they have to get better. So we’re doing all of that.’’
Here are some other notes from today:
--Part of Mitchell’s decision to go with a skills workout today was the need to monitor some sore or injured players. He has to make sure that Andrew Wiggins (knee) and Ricky Rubio (hamstring) aren’t run into the ground. “So tomorrow we’ll have a regular practice,” he said.
--Nemanja Bjelica, who missed Friday’s game with a knee contusion, did not take part in today’s workout. Mitchell hopes he can practice Sunday.
--Mitchell said his decision to pair Rubio and Zach LaVine in the backcourt during key moments of recent games is due primarily to Kevin Martin’s recent shooting slump. “We have to get Kmart making shots,” he said.