Tom Thibodeau’s teams have never been known to force the tempo, but that may change with this season’s Minnesota Timberwolves.
And why not?
The Wolves added All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler to the likes of Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. Also new this season are veterans Jamal Crawford, Taj Gibson and Jeff Teague.
So the Wolves are deeper, older, more balanced and talented.
Will Thibodeau actually let them run?
OK, maybe not “run,” but you can be sure he will be alright with Minnesota playing faster if it means more efficiency. While his teams aren’t always moving at record speed (far from it), they are almost always competent and cohesive.
“If the Wolves are looking for a model for how you can play fast and still play the strong defense that Thibodeau craves, they will get a close look at it in China during these two upcoming (preseason) games against Golden State,” wrote Michael Rand of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
“The Warriors finished fourth in the NBA in pace last season while finishing second in defensive efficiency. That’s a pretty good model to copy.”
Of course, Thibs can talk a little offense — but we all know he prefers to focus on the other side of the ball. That’s true even when it comes to the mighty Warriors.
“When they made the commitment to defense, they went to an entirely different level,” Thibodeau told reporters Tuesday at Shenzhen City Arena. “Not only were they great on offense, they were also great on defense. That’s what makes them so special. With all the success they’ve had, they’ve remained very hungry.”