To call Tom Thibodeau and “old school coach” would be putting it mildly.
The man who infamously demanded stingy, stellar defensive play as an assistant in Boston and sitting on the Chicago sidelines is now calling for his youngbloods in Minnesota to do something you don’t think about in regards to a Thibs-coached team: shoot more three’s.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst spoke with the Timberwolves’ head coach earlier this month:
When examining how the Wolves can break their 12-year playoff drought, Thibodeau immediately pointed to the 3-point line. The Wolves finished 29th in 3-point attempts and makes last season.
“We gave up nine [3-pointers] a game, and we made only five and a half,” Thibodeau said. “That’s like starting the game 10 points behind.”
Thibodeau’s Bulls teams weren’t 3-point heavy. They were 28th in attempts in 2013-14 and 29th in 2012-13, though in his final season, they improved to 16th. Some of that, of course, was due to personnel. But his focus on it now is part of the old-fashioned coach’s attempts to evolve.
“We’re a work in progress,” Thibodeau said, perhaps even talking a little about himself. “We’ve got to close the gap.”
Maybe saying the T-Wolves will transform into the Warriors when it comes to shooting from behind the arc is a stretch, but…
He Does Have The Exciting Zach Lavine
Last season under Sam Mitchell, only Milwaukee shot 3s less frequently than Minnesota did. Mitchell may have started getting himself in hot water back in January after telling the MinnPost’s Britt Robson that the discrepancy in three-pointers was about personnel. “Who is going to shoot them?” Mitchell notoriously said.
Maybe Thibodeau knows the T-Wolves are capable of shooting more 3’s, based off the second half of 2015-16. For instance, Zach LaVine went from shooting 3.1 3-pointers per game before the All-Star break to 5.4 3-pointers per game after it.
For instance, Zach LaVine went from shooting 3.1 3-pointers per game before the All-Star break to 5.4 3-pointers per game after it. According to CBS, in April the Wolves took 20.9 3-pointers per 100 possessions, which is 4.2 more than their season average.
Massive change is expected to take place in Minneapolis under Thibodeau’s tutelage. While most thought that change would affect them on the defensive end, with players like Lavine, Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, and Ricky Rubio on his roster, you can bet that the offensive output will increase as well.