Yes, the headline sounds like an attack on Jimmy Butler. It isn’t. It’s just a factual look at how the Timberwolves have been playing lately. Here’s the St Paul Pioneer Press reporting:
Since Nov. 10, the day the Timberwolves agreed to trade Jimmy Butler to Philadelphia, Minnesota has been the NBA’s best defensive team.
“We’re paying more attention to the detail, understanding what we have to do, watching film,” Timberwolves forward Taj Gibson said. “You’re seeing more guys watching film, pulling in the coaches (and asking), ‘What hand does he want to use? What hand doesn’t he want to use? What do you want me to do more?’ ”
Over their past nine games, including Wednesday’s 128-89 victory over perpetual nemesis San Antonio, the Wolves have ranked No. 1 in defensive rating (99.8 points allowed per 100 possessions), opposing field-goal percentage (41.8 percent), fast break points allowed (7.9 a game) and points allowed in the paint (40.9).
They’re also second in steals per game (10.1) and, most important, 7-2, since trading their best player.