So far, a midseason coaching change has done nothing to help the Timberwolves turn things around. After starting the season with a league-worst 7-24 record, Minnesota replaced head coach Ryan Saunders with Chris Finch, but the club has lost Finch’s first four games by an average of 17 points per contest.
Besides being frustrated by the results on the court, veteran point guard Ricky Rubio is concerned about the Wolves’ process and the habits they’re developing, as Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic writes.
“We have to build good habits from day one, and I don’t think we are in the right way, to be honest,” Rubio said on Sunday. “I can be here and be positive like we’re trying to be and it’s OK. But we have the worst record in the league. We lost way too many games by 20-plus, and I don’t feel like this is building something. It’s hard. You always have to take positive things and of course, we want to get better, but at one point we got to start wanting to change something, and it’s not happening.”
After hosting the Hornets on Wednesday in their final game of the first half, the Wolves will be off for a week, and Rubio expressed hope that the All-Star break will benefit a team that is “not playing good.”
Rubio made it clear he wasn’t blaming Finch, who “has a lot on his plate” taking over a struggling team in the middle of the season. More practice time under the new coach might help, according to Rubio, who was frustrated by the fact that the Wolves couldn’t stop Devin Booker and the Suns from scoring on Sunday when Phoenix repeatedly ran the same set.
“When you’re young and you gotta play through the mistakes, I understand,” Rubio said, per Krawczynski. “But at one point, if you do the same mistake over and over again, it means you’re not learning. Learning through mistakes as a young team can happen, but then make different mistakes. I think we’re doing the same mistakes over and over.”
Rubio, who was reacquired by Minnesota in the fall to complement young guard D’Angelo Russell, hasn’t been a great on-court fit with D-Lo and is having one of the worst seasons of his 10-year NBA career, averaging a career-low 7.6 points per game on 37.8% shooting. While president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas may explore dealing Rubio at the trade deadline, the guard’s $17.8MM guaranteed salary for 2021/22 will make him a tricky piece to move.