By Jerry Zgoda
David Kahn has written another letter to Wolves followers, this time with his team off to a 1-9 start that includes a nine-game losing streak.
Here it is…
Dear Timberwolves Fans and Supporters:
I am writing this to you while on the plane from Minneapolis to Memphis, on Friday night following our loss to Dallas. We are 1-9, having lost nine in a row. Our record was to be expected – but it will not be accepted.
Big difference, I think.
What matters most to me is how we respond to adversity this season – knowing it will come in heavy doses occasionally. Our last nine opponents are a collective 51-30, and there will be similar tough stretches throughout the season.
Specifically, I am eager to determine if the team:
• Improves week to week, month to month, first half to second half. This should occur as everything becomes more familiar and our young players develop. Jonny Flynn and Wayne Ellington in particular need to take advantage of the rare opportunity to play significant minutes as rookies – to learn what works and what doesn’t work at this level and eliminate the mistakes.
• Displays a physical and mental toughness, even when we lose. We cannot lose as we did at Golden State – without a fight. I liked the fact that we fought Dallas until the end tonight and won the fourth quarter. Our crowd appreciated it. I expect that to be the norm. I not only expect that to be part of our culture, but also will demand it.
• Starts running and attacking more on offense, as Kurt and I envision this team playing in the long term.
On that last point, it has been hard for us to sustain a running game without our best rebounder, Kevin Love, and with Al Jefferson still not all the way back from his ACL knee injury. And our defense has been poor at times. It is extremely difficult to run when you are taking the ball out of the basket. But make no mistake – this will become a running team and that will be our identity.
I also don’t want to use Kevin and Al as excuses. Everybody has injuries. Everybody has tough parts of the schedule. Everybody has adversity. We will not be a team that makes excuses.
At times like these, I am motivated to work harder. I want to scout more, watch more film, crunch more numbers, ask more questions. I know Kurt and the coaching staff feel the same. The coaches are the strength of our ballclub right now – I am proud to be working with them. We all recognized when we signed up for this mission that it takes a Herculean effort, from all corners, to turn around a franchise and make it championship-caliber.
We obviously are not working hard enough yet. We need to do more. And we will.