On the NBA Beat Ep. 28a: Steve McPherson: Timberwolves “Very Concerned About Developing Their Young Talent”

On the heels of Minnesota’s exhilarating, nationally televised upset of the mighty Warriors, Steve McPherson (Rolling StoneHardwood Paroxysm and A Wolf Among Wolves, among other outlets) drops by to talk about the young Timberwolves and why their future is so bright. The conversation spans from Karl-Anthony Towns’ many talents to Flip Saunders’ grand legacy and virtually everywhere in between. Some of the show’s highlights can be found below:


3:45 – 4:05 on Karl-Anthony Towns’ many skills:
“You see how difficult of a matchup Towns is going to be for years. You see him both stepping out to defend Steph Curry and shutting him down on a possession, which is amazing for a guy who is 7 feet tall, and then also being a threat on the other end, both shooting and closer to the basket.”
9:45 – 10:35 on Andrew Wiggins’ development in Minnesota:
“They are still trying to figure out what Wiggins can do…The Wolves are very conscientiously showing him different things to see what he can do on the court…They want to give him the ball in a way that he gets to see the court a bunch of times a game and then makes decisions, and then they can see how he deals with that and what he has to work on.”


15:50 – 16:45 on how the Timberwolves develop their young talent:


“The organization is very concerned about developing their young talent and in a way that they haven’t been before…These binders that they keep on all the players now and they basically had nothing like that prior to Flip coming back to the team in terms of tracking what guys are doing. In these binders, it talks about all the work they’re doing off the court in terms of strength and conditioning, recording their reps on different exercises, their results from 3-point shooting drills…They have Arnie Kander now, who is a guru of physical fitness…and has a very holistic approach to the body and keeping these guys healthy.”


18:33 – 19:45 on Kevin Garnett’s impact on the young Wolves roster:


“KG’s impact has been huge, and it is also one that you will feel more as these guys grow up a little bit. Look at how much KG has instilled in them…It’s a lot about communication and understanding the schemes, and KG brings a lot of that and from a place that a coach cannot…He’s constantly coaching.”


29:35 – 30:30 on Shabazz Muhammad’s fit and potential:


“I don’t think he’s going to be a star. His best role is as a sixth man or a guy off the bench…He just never stops, and that’s good and bad. When he gets the ball, he wants to put the ball through the hoop and sometimes he doesn’t see other people…I’m not sure that Minnesota is the right situation ultimately.”


31:52 – 32:40 on Ricky Rubio and his future:


“He’s been here for four years and has had three coaches in that time. That’s a lot of changeover. He’s one of those guys, where (with) the right guys around him, he will elevate their games and they will make him look better…Rubio commanding the floor (and) organizing a young team can be a really good influence on how that team plays and how good that team looks.”


35:05 – 35:33 on the late Flip Saunders’ legacy:


“When you talked to him, you knew that here was a guy who had forgotten more than you were ever going to know about the game…You couldn’t help but respect his knowledge and love for the game. It’s informed the way the roster is built right now and the team is trying to keep his spirit and vision for the team alive, while also adapting to changes that he couldn’t foresee.”
Music: “Who Likes to Party?” by Kevin MacLeod