Top draft pick Karl-Anthony Towns says he learns something every day from his Timberwolves teammate and mentor Kevin Garnett, he revealed during a Q&A session with NBA.com’s David Aldridge published in Aldridge’s weekly column. Garnett has been teaching Towns how to protect his body so that he doesn’t wear down during his first season. The rookie power forward also told Aldridge that Garnett has instilled him with three tenets: “Work harder. Play defense. And continue to compete.” Garnett’s influence on his young teammates is far-reaching, even though he denies he’s a coach on the floor, according to Marino Eccher of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Garnett was spotted during Monday’s practice showing power forward Nemanja Bjelica how to guard pick-and-rolls in a one-on-one session, Eccher continues. After practice, Garnett provided teammates and coaches with insights on everything from defensive techniques to trash-talking, Eccher adds.
In other news around the Northwest Division:
- The Thunder could overwhelm opponents in the first quarter if they started Enes Kanter at center, Matt Moore of CBSSports.com opines. While Steven Adams has earned the starting job, Kanter’s defensive shortcomings are more of a liability when he plays with the second unit, Moore argues. Oklahoma City’s firepower with Kanter playing alongside Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant would mask those shortcomings and the club could still close games with Adams in the middle, when defensive stops become more essential, Moore concludes.
- The task for the Blazers this season is to find out which of their players around Damian Lillard are keepers and which aren’t, and games like Sunday’s clunker against the Hornets, after which coach Terry Stotts questioned his team’s effort and focus, can play a role in that process, as Jason Quick of CSNNW.com examines.
- The Timberwolves are continuing to engage in talks about finding a D-League affiliate for next season, though they aren’t close yet, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
(Chuck Myron contributed to this report.)