Seeking a cure for the season’s dog-day doldrums, Golden State’s Steve Kerr turned over his team’s morning shootaround, in-game huddles, even his whiteboard to his players and let them coach themselves in Monday’s lopsided victory over Phoenix.
So is such a tactic coming to a Timberwolves timeout near you?
Don’t hold your breath.
“Every team is different, and obviously they have different challenges because of where they’ve been and all the things they’ve been through,” Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau said. “Steve has a great pulse of his team, so he’s probably just trying to reach them. I think that’s a big part of this right now, particularly this time of the year.”
Kerr said he turned the coaching over to his players because he had not been able to reach them the past month. Andre Iguodala conducted shootaround, JaVale McGee scouted by computer, Draymond Green, Stephen Curry and others coached in the huddle. The Warriors received a delay-of-game warning coming out of halftime after Curry couldn’t get the team organized.
Thibodeau was asked to which of his veterans he’d first give the whiteboard he uses to draw up plays.
“I don’t know,” Thibodeau said. “I don’t think we’re ready for that.”
Not that his players wouldn’t mind trying.
“We’ve got a lot of guys who have answers,” Wolves guard Tyus Jones said, “but we’ve got a lot of smart players as well. We’ve got a few guys who could be pretty good coaches.”
Former league MVP Derrick Rose remained a free agent Tuesday after he cleared waivers Monday afternoon.
Asked if he’s interested in signing his former Bulls star, Thibodeau said, “We’ll see. We’re always looking for different ways we can improve the club.”
G-League players Justin Patton, Anthony Brown and Amile Jefferson joined the Timberwolves for shootaround Tuesday. All three are expected to stay for the two home games this week, then return to Iowa next week.
Patton has played 25 games there and could be recalled to play in the NBA once his 25-minute time restriction is lifted and he plays more complete games in the G League. He had his foot — healed from July surgery — examined again here.
Asked if he thinks he’ll play in the NBA before season’s end, Patton said: “That’s a question that’s hard. I don’t really know. I’m just doing what I’m supposed to do, coming to work every single day. Whenever my name is called, I’m going to do what I’m supposed to do.”
The Wolves celebrated Chinese New Year at Tuesday’s game, bringing the night’s theme to pregame performances and the national anthem’s playing, and a traditional Dragon Dance performed at halftime. Scoreboard text included Chinese translations.
Wolves minority owner Lizhang “John” Jiang was the first Chinese owner in U.S. major pro sports. The Wolves played two preseason games in China last fall and signed corporate sponsorships with Chinese corporations TCL and O-RANGE Sports.
“The game is global,” Thibodeau said. “It’s really amazing what has happened in China, and we’re excited about being a part of that.”
• Fans attending Thursday’s “Flip Saunders Night” against the Los Angeles Lakers are encouraged to be in their seats by 7:15 p.m. for a 20-minute pregame ceremony and banner unveiling that will honor the memory of the Wolves’ former coach and president of basketball operations. The game tips at 8 p.m. in an evening intended to raise awareness and funds for the “Flip Saunders Legacy Fund.”
• Wolves GM Scott Layden presented Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns with their All-Star Game jerseys before Tuesday’s game.