LOS ANGELES – With 80 games now done and two more yet to go, Timberwolves players Karl-Anthony Town, Andrew Wiggins and Gorgui Dieng are aimed at become the first three starters in franchise history to play all 82 games.
“It says a lot,” Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau said. “Every team is in a different place. When you have young guys who are striving to achieve and win and get to the playoffs, the best way to learn is to be out there. If you have an older team, you look at cutting back their time. For us, the work part is important. I think it has to be a core value of who we are and how we want to play. The discipline is important and you want to build the right habits.
“You don’t get there overnight, and there are no shortcuts.”
Wiggins has missed just one game in his three-season NBA career, last season. Dieng has played every game the past two seasons, his third and fourth in the league. Towns hasn’t missed a game in his two seasons.
“It just shows how long you can last. It’s a tough season, a lot of ups and downs, a lot of injuries,” Dieng said before Sunday’s game against the Lakers in Los Angeles. “Everybody plays hurt. But for me, I take it very seriously to play all 82 games.”
Two Lakers players — Jordan Clarkson and Corey Brewer, who played with Houston until the trade deadline — are aiming to play in every game.
“It’s hard to do that in this league,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “Mentally, physically, it’s a drain. It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old. If you can make it through the whole season, that’s something you should be very proud of.”