– A student of his craft nearly these past 30 years in the NBA, Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau knows a little bit about leadership.

So on Election Day across America Tuesday, he was asked how he defines it.

“Expertise, humility and courage,” he said after pausing to give the question some thought.

He has coached under Bill Musselman, Jeff Van Gundy, Doc Rivers and Mike Krzyzewski and spent a season’s sabbatical going from franchise to franchise studying many things, among them leadership.

“When you have strong leadership, you have order,” Thibodeau said. “You’re going to follow someone you feel has a lot of knowledge in whatever area they’re leading in. Obviously, humility is an important part, but courage is, too. You have to have the courage of your convictions. The thing is, what do you believe in?

“When you’re looking at a leader, what do they stand for? What are their core beliefs? You don’t have necessarily have to agree on everything, but you do have to have the same core values.”

Thibodeau didn’t say for whom he voted in the presidential election, but you can guess.


Remember Sean Kilpatrick?

His former Wolves teammates do, no matter how briefly they knew him.

Kilpatrick entered Tuesday’s game averaging 17 points a night for the NBA’s second-highest scoring bench. Two seasons ago, the injury-depleted Wolves signed Kilpatrick late in the season because he was the nearest viable D League player who could get to Madison Square Garden by game time. He ended up helping the Wolves win games there and at Utah in overtime.

“That’s my boy,” Wolves guard Zach LaVine said. “I told him he belongs in this league. He’s an extremely good shooter, scorer. He’s an extremely hard worker. I credit that for all that is happening for him. I’m really happy for him.”

By hook or by Brook

Brooklyn big man Brook Lopez made seven three-point shots in his first five games, then had three by halftime alone Tuesday as he continues to reinvent himself under the guidance of rookie coach Kenny Atkinson, who helped coach an Atlanta team that featured Al Horford and Paul Millsap doing unbig man-like things.

“He always has had great touch,” Thibodeau said. “For a guy that size, his skill set is very unusual. Pick-and-pop, touch from 17 [feet] and not to extend to the three, you always felt he had that capability. The thing that gets overlooked is playmaking ability.”


• These remade Nets look like Timberwolves East. There’s four former Wolves on the Nets’ roster: Kilpatrick, Anthony Bennett, Randy Foye and Justin Hamilton. Recovered from a hamstring injury, Foye made his season debut.

• Thibodeau, when asked how his team got enough tickets for everyone to attend Broadway’s hottest musical, “Hamilton,” on Sunday: “I don’t know. The NBA is an amazing league. They have connections everywhere.”