Despair to Repair

Jackson Spiess, Writer

Have you been tired of getting excited for the Timberwolves just to see them to fail every year? Well, this year isn’t any different. The wolves started the season by gaining excitement from fans all over Minnesota with changes that may result in wins and success. But would that excitement last?

Let me start off by telling you why fans haven’t been excited in past years. The Timberwolves have been held back by several factors. Two big reasons were the head coach, Ryan Saunders, and the culture/attitude of the team.

I asked CRHS Basketball Coach, Mike Ogorek, what the team’s culture has been like in past years. Ogorek said,  “Not a winning attitude. It was a culture that babied the young stars but did not demand much from them. Saunders was a great guy, but was not going to be one to demand a hard-nosed culture.” Ryan Saunders was a coach that let things go. He would smile after losses, and all around didn’t demand good basketball from players. 

Now that we’ve established that the Timberwolves coach was bad, I’m relieved to tell you that… he was fired last year. The Wolves hired a new coach, Chris Finch. He took the lead from Saunders and finished the season with 16 wins and 25 losses (ESPN). He led a last-moment surge at the end of the season, after the All-Star break, that made fans look forward to the next season. 

This season, fans were excited to see Finch’s schemes on defense and how he was going to utilize the roster. Matt Schumann, Asst. Basketball Coach at CRHS, had some words to say about why he was excited to see the new coach in action.  “Chris Finch has had an entire off-season to develop his own defensive system. Pick and roll coverages and on-ball action have been met with little Timberwolves defensive resistance for several years.” He then went on to say how he was excited to see how the Wolves’ bigger players defend off the pick and roll. Traditionally the Wolves have played drop coverage, when a slow defender guards fast players, which leaves gaping holes in the defense and allows more three-pointers for the other team. Chris Finch has had months to look for solutions to this. So far into this season, when the Wolves played well, we played great defense. But that didn’t last long. Recently, their defense has shifted and they are allowing more points, resulting in worse offense. All around bad.

Another huge reason fans were excited for this season was Anthony Edwards (Other aliases: Ant, Ant-Man). This number one pick in the 2020 draft was excited to play, even for the Timberwolves, whilst other top draft prospects showed disdain toward playing in Minnesota. Ant has one of those attitudes where the situation doesn’t matter, he just wants to go out and play his best every night on the floor; he just wants to win. 

When asked about ANT’s impact on the team, Ogorek said, “He’s a fantastic player who gives the team juice with his play. He can just flat out score the rock and get to the basket, which this team desperately needed.” 

In his first season, Edwards averaged 23.8 points, (, and despite not winning the Rookie of the Year award, many believed he was the best in his class. So far in his second season, he is 23.9 points along with 7.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals. (via ESPN). His rebounding is better along with his defense. 

Jacob Metzger, a teacher at Coon Rapids High School,  is excited about the season. He said, “Anthony Edwards is for real! Also excited to see the growth of Big Mac, and what a year with Finch can do.” The players are what makes the team, so it makes sense that it was a huge reason for excitement at the beginning of the season.  Edwards is the one hope that has panned out. Although unfortunately, he’s one of only two or three players to stay consistent.

The Timberwolves players have never really been on the same page before, and they still aren’t. We were supposed to have all these new players led by ANT, KAT, and Patrick Beverley, and after years of players butting heads, it finally seemed that the players were on the same page and holding each other accountable. 

Just like every year, fans are quick to get their hopes up at the beginning of the season, but then get them smashed just as quickly.