Many Timberwolves fans are saying the word “playoffs” a little louder than they are maybe used to. And with the team acquiring studs like Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, Jeff Teague and Jamal Crawford this offseason, they should.
For the players, playoffs are a good start for a team that hasn’t been there since 2003-04, but that’s not the ultimate goal.
“A success for me? I want to win the championship. I’m not selling us short of just making the playoffs,” Butler said after Monday’s practice. “Of just winning X amount of games. If you’re saying ‘I just want to make the playoffs’ you’re not playing it for the right reasons.”
Those are lofty goals, but the Wolves have a chemistry and a swagger they didn’t have last season. A lot of that has to likely do with the players from last season’s roster having a second season with coach Tom Thibodeau. The second is that the Wolves have an arsenal of guys who have been in the playoffs and know what teams have to do to get there.
“It’s an unbelievable culture,” Crawford said. “Obviously we’ll go through our growing pains of just playing together for the first time . . . It’s a cool place to be at with these guys.”
The Wolves will practice Tuesday in Minneapolis before heading to San Antonio to kick off the season against the Spurs. Tipoff is at 8:30 p.m. on FSN, ESPN and WCCO-830 AM.
Wolves rookie center Justin Patton is doing more with individual drills, but is still not practicing, Thibodeau told us after practice.
“(He’s) doing a little bit more,” Thibodeau said. “Still hasn’t done anything in practice but his individual stuff has picked up a little bit. Just have to be patient with it. We’ll see how it unfolds.”
Patton is a likely candidate to see some time with the G-League Iowa Wolves upon his return, but the Wolves are in no rush to bring him back given their depth on the frontline.