Wolves embarrassed again; Martell Webster talks about the future
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The Minnesota Timberwolves' disastrous season continued to limp to the barn Saturday when the Denver Nuggets handed them their 13th consecutive loss 130-106.
To make matters worse, Ty Lawson -- who was the third point guard the Wolves drafted in 2009 before they traded him to Denver -- scored 37 points on 10-of-11 shooting from behind the arc. Meanwhile, Jonny Flynn scored 10 points and there hasn't been a new Ricky Rubio highlight video posted on YouTube in quite some time.
The Wolves remain tied with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the race for the most ping pong balls in the NBA Draft Lottery. The Cavaliers lost to the Milwaukee Bucks 108-101 to remain even with the Wolves in the win column at 17.
With just two games remaining in the 2010-11 season, the team is faced with more questions than the players and coaching staff have answers to.
Heading into the season, one of the selling points of David Kahn's overhauled roster was its youth -- the fact the Wolves are the youngest team has been widely reported -- but over the course of 80 games, youth and experience have transitioned into the primary excuse for another season of ineptitude.
Martell Webster, despite being the 24 and less than a year older than rookie Wesley Johnson, is one of the most tenured players on the Wolves' roster with five years experience and has been forced into a leadership role.
He continued his strong play on Saturday, scoring 15 points and grabbing five rebounds, to end a season that will be remembered for missing the first 24 games with back surgery and dealing with subsequent sorness.
Webster's frustration came out recently as he endures a season full of loses a year after being in the playoffs with the Portland Trailblazers.
"It is just one of those things where you just don't listen to it," he said. "You don't pay attention to what's in the media. Probably not going to read this in the paper tomorrow. I don't need to look at it, I don't need to focus on it. I need to focus on what I can do to help make this team better."
The season has reached such a low point for Webster that the best compliment he could give his team is that they are a good group of guys.
"We have great guys," Webster said. "That is all I can say. We haven't done anything yet for me to say 'I like this or that.' We haven't done anything. Plain and simple. I am not going to beat around the bush.
"We have to get better. Plain and simple."
After winning just 21 games his rookie season in Portland, the young Trailblazers gradually rose to 32 and 41 wins the next two seasons before making the playoffs with in 2008-09 with 54 wins.
"All I know is, I want my guys to get it in and understand what it takes to win," he said. "Once you taste it, that success, you're always hungry for it. We just haven't tasted it yet."
Much like the coaching staff and Kahn, Webster preaches patience with the young core of the Wolves and let them be exactly what they are, young.
"Young guys are going to be young guys. That's the thing," he said. "You've got to let them bust that out. That is part of drafting on potential because they know what players can become what they think they can become. Right now, you just have to let them be young because if you coach them too much they become robots and all of a sudden you just totally deplete the potential. Just let them do what they are going to do and hope they get it out of their systems fast because they need to move on."
Webster pointed out how difficult it is for players from winning college programs to come to a team with a tradition of losing but eventually they reach a breaking point.
"At some point, you just say, 'Screw it. I am going to do the little things it takes to win games. Taking charges, going for loose balls, contesting every jump shot.' Those things right there are things that win games. Once we start doing those little things we will start taking little steps in the right direction."
"It's tough. But I love it. I wouldn't walk away from it. I will be next year too, trying to get this thing straight."