On the day before the Timberwolves open the regular season at Brooklyn, Wolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas, once again, preached patience.
“Everybody, including ourselves, wants it to happen sooner [rather] than later,” he said before Tuesday’s practice. “But it takes time.”
The Wolves enter the season with a remade roster and with Ryan Saunders about to experience his first opening day as a head coach.
There is a new, faster-paced, three point shot-dependent offense that stresses spacing and pace.
As the season begins, the talk is more about the process than wins.
“Our goal — myself and Ryan — we want to establish our identity. Offensively, defensively and as an organization. We need to develop players,” Rosas said. “We need to evaluate which players are going to move forward. That’s our focus day-in and day-out. It’s not so much about wins and losses. It’s ‘are we getting better every day?’ I’m confident, if we do those things daily, we’re going to be a successful team.”
But, as he said, it’s a process. When asked what he learned about his roster during the preseason, Rosas pointed at the offensive end.
“It’s not just about playing fast and shooting threes,” he said. “It’s our rhythm, our spacing, our timing. ... The more we play the better we’ll get.”
Rosas is excited about his team’s depth on the wing and in the post with Jordan Bell’s improving health. But the Wolves enter the season with only two true point guards in Jeff Teague and Shabazz Napier.
“I think wing-wise and big-wise, there are a lot of different ways we can play,” Rosas said. “We want to give coach and his staff as many options as possible. At point guard we’re probably not as proven, so that’s an area we’ll look to develop and address throughout the year.”
Rookie Jarrett Culver’s ball-handling ability will help mitigate this problem, as will the Wolves’ plan to use Karl-Anthony Towns’ playmaking ability as well.
“Overall, systematically, we like the group that we have,” Rosas said. “We feel like they’ll be able to grow and develop, and they’ll be good for how we want to play.”
That said, Rosas pledged to be aggressive during the season trying to upgrade the roster.
“We were aggressive up to the deadline yesterday,” he said, referring to Monday’s afternoon deadline for setting rosters. “There were some plays we could have made to help us. They didn’t line up, in terms of other teams wanting to see where they’re at with their rosters. But every day we’re looking at opportunities to add.”
Making midseason trades is often difficult in the NBA. But Rosas pledged to work hard when it comes to upgrading his roster.
“We’re at a stage where we’re going to continue to be aggressive,” he said. “We don’t have our championship team yet. When you’re at that stage you want to do less because you want to have that continuity. We’re at the opposite end right now, where we’re establishing our core group and moving forward. A lot of teams aren’t like that. … But we can’t be waiting for the phone to ring. We have to make those calls to make sure that any opportunity that we can improve ourselves, we’re taking advantage of that.”
Rosas was in Target Center on Monday and noticed the lack of NBA banners hanging from the ceiling.
“That’s what drives us,” he said, noting that he wants to have NBA banners hanging alongside those earned by the WNBA’s Lynx. “There is a void there. Our fans in this market are demanding it, and they deserve it.”