Head coach Ryan Saunders promised Tuesday that the Timberwolves would have a “healthy” film session in the wake of their collapse Monday against the Kings.
Saunders said the bulk of that session would go over all the things the Wolves did wrong to facilitate the Kings’ comeback efforts.
“I lead the film session. But I’ll ask questions to the players,” Saunders said. “We’ll have dialogue through things, but we’ll point out what we need to work on and what went wrong.”
Saunders said before Wednesday’s practice that the Wolves “wore it with our emotions” in Tuesday’s practice, but he reiterated that the Wolves have “a good locker room.”
“We’ve got a good group of guys,” Saunders said. “We always are available to communicate through things, too, if guys need clarity, if they need to talk through something. If they’re having a tough time, our group, I feel like, despite losing games, is a together group.”
Saunders said the Wolves have to recapture what they were doing defensively before their current 10-game losing streak, and that has been a heavy focus of the practices before the Wolves head to Los Angeles to face the Clippers on Saturday.
Along those lines, Saunders offered a defense of Karl-Anthony Towns’ defense since his return from a left knee sprain and illness.
With Towns out for 15 games, the Wolves had the third-best defensive efficiency in the NBA. In the seven games since his return, all losses, that has sunk to 25th. The Wolves have played some better competition since Towns got back than they played when he was hurt, and Saunders said it’s not just one player who’s the cause of the current struggles.
“That’s the easy way out, but it’s never on one guy, it’s everyone,” Saunders said. “There have been plenty of games where he’s had positive defensive possessions.”
Saunders said the Wolves were getting “back to basics” in their defensive drills.
“We want to become a better pursue-and-contest team,” Saunders said. “That’s what we were doing for that month when we were a very good defensive team. We got to finish plays better too.”
Saunders said wing Allen Crabbe is not expected to practice Wednesday or Thursday as he recovers from a left patella subluxation suffered in Saturday’s game against Oklahoma City. Saunders said the Wolves were waiting for the swelling to go down in Crabbe’s knee before knowing the full extent of how long he would be out.
The Wolves spent the past few days hosting their G-League affiliate team, with the Iowa Wolves using the facilities to practice and undergo testing with the Wolves medical and training staffs. Among those practicing was former Gopher Jordan Murphy. Murphy said he’s trying to keep his confidence up that he’ll get his NBA shot soon.
“There’s going to be plenty of opportunities for you to show what you can do,” said Murphy, who is averaging 9.8 points and 6.3 rebounds in 29 G-League games this season. “Be patient. Patience is something that I struggle with a lot, so being able to know I can keep my head down, keep working, my time is coming. Just keep that in my mind, I think that’s important.”