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Is this season’s dysfunctional carnage doing more harm than good for the Wolves’ youngest players?

Thad Young
MinnPost photo by Craig Lassig
Thad Young hasn’t been the same since returning from bereavement leave after attending to the passing of his mother.

The broad strokes required to recap the Minnesota Timberwolves disastrous 2014-15 season thus far are easily wielded. In the fifth game, against Orlando on November 7, point guard Ricky Rubio sprained his ankle. In the ninth game, against Dallas on November 15, center Nikola Pekovic was sidelined after aggravating a chronic foot injury. During the very next game, against New York on November 19, shooting guard Kevin Martin fractured his right wrist.

Rubio is the Wolves’ acknowledged leader, their premiere playmaker and perimeter defender. Pekovic is the team’s defensive bulwark and offensive anchor down near the basket. Martin is far and away the ball club’s most prolific scorer and proven shooter from long range. Many weeks later, none of these three veterans have returned. In their collective absence, the Timberwolves have lost 20 of their past 22 games, including 17 of their past 18 and 11 in a row.

Playing without three integral members of the roster certainly helps to justify the team’s inadequate performances on a near-nightly basis. In addition, the onslaught of injuries encouraged Wolves management to fully dedicate themselves to their youth movement and abandon the already flimsy pretense, probably peddled to gull fans into renewing their season tickets, that the Wolves could compete for a playoff spot.

Thus, when Rubio went down, Saunders plugged in the grotesquely inexperienced Zach LaVine instead of veteran Mo Williams at the point. And in December, Corey Brewer — who had logged more games as a Timberwolf than anyone on the team and inspired with his persistent energy even in the midst of the most horrendous defeats this season — was traded to Houston for young shooter Troy Daniels, and to make room for second-year dynamo Shabazz Muhammad in the starting lineup.

Since the Brewer trade, the Wolves have taken the floor for the past eight games with a lineup that included two teenaged rookies (LaVine and heralded swingman Andrew Wiggins), two second-year players (Muhammad and center Gorgui Dieng), and Thad Young, the 26-year old power forward and theoretical veteran leader now in his eighth NBA season. And they have lost every time, never once yielding fewer than 100 points. Indeed, according to, in the 130 minutes and 50 seconds that quintet has played together this season, the Wolves have been outscored by 20.1 points per 100 possessions.

Corrosive development on defense

Heading into this season, the abiding question was whether head coach and President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders would properly emphasize the development of his young talent or make a byzantine chase for the playoffs with the veterans and stunt his team’s long-term prospects. Although the rash of injuries left Saunders no choice, it seems fairly clear now he was always leaning toward youth development. 

But at this stage of this ongoing train-wreck of a season, a more troublesome question comes into focus: How well is the promise of youth actually being served by this dysfunctional carnage?

There are tangible signs that augur for optimism. In his own unflappable, maddeningly cautious manner, Wiggins is a slowly burgeoning star. Although LaVine still looks like a deer in the headlights, even as he imagines he is preening in the spotlight, he has begun to grasp such point-guard rudiments as the pocket-pass on the pick-and-roll play and the importance of maintaining pace when the ball is moving in the half-court offense. He will never be a quality point guard, but the experience he is getting will help round out his beguiling raw talent en route to him perhaps becoming a quality shooting guard. Muhammad continues to exhibit a relentless motor and thirst for the ball as rebounder and scorer that cements his status as a regular rotation player in the NBA. And Dieng is mostly surviving and occasionally flourishing through the palpable combat that is boot camp for any young big man who hopes to sustain a career out of the scrum-with-sinew skirmishes waged in the paint.

But what all four of these promising players are missing this season is the satisfaction and inspiration of successful teamwork.

This damaging void is most egregious on defense, where the Wolves are on pace to surrender the highest percentage of points from two-point and three-point field goals (measured as eFG%) of any team in NBA history. Put simply, this means that field-goal shooters make baskets on the Wolves more prolifically than they have against any other team — ever. Given the athleticism on Minnesota’s roster, this failure to thwart the opposition is less about physical talent and more about a glaring lack of wisdom and willpower.

While it is not entirely true that a team’s defense is only as strong as its weakest link (superb defenders can compensate for some gaffes by inferior teammates), teamwork in the NBA is epitomized by the ability to play consistent quality defense. Variations on the basic pick-and-roll play still account for a plurality, if not a majority, of the scoring strategies deployed by NBA offenses, so it is not as if defenses are clueless to what is coming at them. The key is to communicate and adjust quickly enough to avoid breakdowns and mismatches in coverage. That requires an equal mixture of concentration, experience and desire — the ingredients for intelligent, alert responses.

The Timberwolves, especially since Rubio’s injury, have demonstrated a shocking lack of concentration, experience and desire. They do not communicate. They do not sustain good habits. They boldly take plays off. What is most concerning is that, in terms of the youthful future of this franchise, these wretched defensive tendencies are being imprinted on blank slates. Dieng had a grand total of 818 minutes of NBA experience headed into this season. Muhammad had 290 minutes. Wiggins and LaVine had zilch, on top of just a single year in college.

Team defense is about trusting your cohorts to be active, alert and aware enough to fulfill their ever-evolving responsibilities on the fly. Bad defense is the product of a vicious downward spiral — failure to prevent a score erodes trust, which in turn erodes effort, which prevents experience from being beneficial. By contrast, preventing a score bolsters confidence and enhances accountability to sustain the success, engendering a positive dynamic between trust and effort, paying off in a beneficial learning experience.

Terrible team defense has exerted a blatantly negative impact on all four of the Wolves young rotation players this season. LaVine and Muhammad appear the least able to grasp the dynamics of flow and response, and because the team is so rarely successful at generating stops, a discernable pattern of proper response remains elusive, robbing them of initiative. Because Dieng is himself relatively undersized at center and is playing beside power forwards who are inevitably undersized and lacking in grit, he has a tendency to get overwhelmed and then frustrated, becoming more reckless and undisciplined in his coverage. Wiggins bears the enormous responsibility of being the Wolves “wing stopper,” the defender assigned to the opponents’ top perimeter scorer. The grind of his task coupled with the constant breakdowns of his teammates performing less rigorous assignments occasionally saps his resolve and concentration.

Of course all of these individual deficiencies compound and exacerbate each other, generating a rolling snowball of dysfunction when it comes to overall team defense. Throw in an offense that has its own share of dysfunction, for many of the same trust and teamwork reasons, and you have a team on pace to generate the fewest victories of any Wolves team in the already sorry and sordid history of this franchise. 

Immediate changes

The Wolves lack of improvement seemed to hit a new nadir with Saturday night’s home loss to Utah, a team that is also youthful and riddled by injuries, and who played way down in Atlanta just the night before. After the game, Saunders called it “about as bad a loss as we’ve had in a long time, at least that I’ve been associated with,” adding, “they ripped in and took our heart away.”

Asked how he can get through to his players and change the losing dynamic, Saunders responded, “playing time.” He vowed to make changes in the lineup after studying the tape and holding practice. Of course he has made similar threats before, and not followed through, but eleven losses in a row have a way of compelling even conflict-averse personalities like Flip to take a stand.

My humble suggestion would be to bench Thad Young for a couple of games. Some dramatic gesture is needed to shake Young out of his current funk, to call out and clarify his struggles, give him a little time to absorb it and then return with a clean slate. He hasn’t been the same since returning from bereavement leave after attending to the passing of his mother.

That’s the charitable interpretation.  The caliber of Young’s play has left open the possibility that Young’s funk is deliberate, and that he is trying to force his way off a soul-enervating experience with an inept franchise he never chose to join. The most obvious precedent for this was the indifferent performance of forward Boris Diaw in Charlotte three years ago. Once Diaw found himself in San Antonio, the Cadillac of NBA franchises, it is amazing how much his play was transformed in all aspects of the game.

At the end of this season, Young will have the option of either staying in Minnesota next season for a salary of just under $10 million, or becoming a free agent. The glitch is that the best time to become a free agent is not next year, in the 2015-16 season, but the year after, in 2016-17, when a flood of additional media revenue is expected to boost the salary cap enough for even the quality, capped-out teams to have space to sign players. It would be entirely understandable for Young not to want to stay in Minnesota. But not many contenders will have salary cap room to pay him what the Wolves would owe him next season. So he either has to bide his time, take his chances on the free agent market next season, or perhaps find some way to alter that status quo.

Regardless of whether he is a sympathetic figure still trying to cope with the loss of the most fundamental person in his life, a conniver looking to wheedle his way out of town, or anything in between, Young has been a huge disappointment for the Wolves this season. I dealt with the specifics of this in a column I wrote three weeks ago, but if anything his play has further deteriorated since then.

Most recently, after the Wolves had labored to reduce a 20-point Utah lead down to eight in the middle of the fourth quarter on Saturday, Young allowed Utah’s interior to dominate with a slam dunk and offensive rebounds on the defensive end while clanking a pair of midrange jump shots on offense. Over a span of 1:46, that eight-point margin ballooned back up to 13 before Saunders called time out and removed Young from the game.

For the season, Young field-goal and free-throw percentages are the lowest of his eight-year career. His offensive rebounding percentage is 4.2, just a little over half of his 7.3 percent career average. Advanced statistical measures such as PER and WinShares rate him out to be a below-average NBA player. In a situation where he was widely expected to be one of the team’s leaders even before three other veterans were felled by significant injury, his performance has been the most surprising pratfall in a season laden with woe. Oh, and the Wolves traded a first-round draft pick — one they acquired from Miami, a team playing poorly enough to make the pick of fairly high value — to obtain him.

Putting Young on the bench, to start the game if not indefinitely, would send a message that team leaders need to set an example. Young has been protected by the horrible play of his backup, Anthony Bennett, but Saunders should leapfrog over Bennett and either start Muhammad or Robbie Hummel at power forward. Neither are as large or as experienced as Young, but that hasn’t seemed to matter thus far this season.

The Wolves are playing Denver tonight. In the last matchup between the two teams, the day after Christmas, Denver’s power forward Kenneth Faried feasted on his matchup with Young to the tune of 26 points and 25 rebounds in less than 30 minutes. Although two inches shorter than Faried (and Young), Muhammad has the conditioning, strength and desire to match his nonstop energy. And although Hummel is less athletic than Faried, Muhammad or Young, he is a disciplined team defender who can be an able backup — and had a superb fourth-quarter against this same Nuggets team in late December.

Until Rubio and Martin return, changes are necessary—and welcomed. 

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Comments (29)

  1. Submitted by Jeff Germann on 01/05/2015 - 12:07 pm.

    Good article as always…

    I agree that Young has been the biggest disappointment from a personnel standpoint this season. (Continued injuries is my biggest continuing issue with the team). I know I expected a lot more out of Thad Young this year. I was excited when we signed him as I thought he would be a great fit. While he has not been close to the player we were expecting, I think its a stretch to suggest that he’s tanking it in order to get out of town. Most NBA players know that they can find ways out of a situation if they really want (agents) and don’t need to hurt their own value in the process. The way he’s currently playing, he’d be lucky to get a contract at half his current salary if he were to opt out and try to resign somewhere else. So tanking it to get out doesn’t seem like a smart way for a player to do things. My guess is his agent would have talked to him by now if that were the case.

    No, whats probably going on is that he’s more used to feeding on sub par play from players in the East and getting his stats up that way. Sports is a confidence game and playing lesser quality opponents probably helped him get his confidence up. That confidence probably helped him when he had tougher assignments.

    Or most likely…he’s just fallen victim to the curse that is the Timberwolves. Where quality veterans go to take a year off and regress from their career averages. (Mo Williams, Martel Webster, Ramon Sessions, etc)

  2. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 01/05/2015 - 12:27 pm.

    I wonder…

    I can’t remember how many games there were between the time Martin, Rubio and Pek got hurt and Young left the team. I wonder how he did during that stretch if it was more than a game or so. Maybe he just isn’t equipped to be the leader of the team and the pressure gets to him. I sure hate to see him miss all those mid range jumpers. Seems like the first few games he looked pretty good.

    I see so little of AB and I’m so unknowledgeable that I would like to hear your take on his apparent shortcomings.

    Any idea when we’ll see Ricky again? Soon, I hope. I figure Pek is gone for good. Six games played after taking the summer off and after missing the end of last year?

    • Submitted by Greg Kerkvliet on 01/05/2015 - 03:23 pm.

      Young left before Pek and Martin were injured

      They played without him vs. the Pelicans, Pek got hurt in the next game vs. the Mavs, and Martin got hurt in the game after that against the Knicks.

    • Submitted by Adam Gerber on 01/05/2015 - 03:49 pm.

      Everything all at once…

      Just wanted to clarify the Thad timeline for you:
      November 7, Ricky Rubio sprained his ankle.
      November 13, Thad Young leaves team to greive for his mother. (Returned November 26th)
      November 15, Nikola Pekovic sidelined after aggravating a chronic foot injury.
      November 19, Kevin Martin fractured his right wrist.

      • Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 01/06/2015 - 08:27 am.

        Thanks, guys, for the timelines

        That all tells me that Young’s slippage could be due as much to the fact that all the other vets were out and he’s playing with rookies. Maybe he’s just too anxious and trying too hard. That excuse worked pretty well the last couple years when Rubio was missing all those mid range jumpers. It was a very different team when Young came back.

  3. Submitted by Andy Grimsrud on 01/05/2015 - 12:49 pm.

    Players or Coach

    It’ll be interesting to follow the team defense performance from February-April, assuming Rubio comes back to full strength, and especially if Pekovic also returns (seems doubtful, but apparently he is participating in some drills now).

    Before Rick Adelman and his staff came here, the Wolves had just ranked 28th and 27th out of 30 in consecutive seasons, in terms of defense in the NBA.

    In his first year, Adelman coached the group to a 25th out of 30 ranking. You’ll recall that this first crew still had Mike Beasley, Anthony Randolph, and rookie Derrick Williams was 4th in total minutes. Also, Rubio got hurt. When he was on the floor the team’s D-rating (per was just 99.6. When Rubio was off the court that rating jumped to 106.8. That’s a striking differential, considering the large number of minutes in each sample.(1404 vs 1784) (stats here:!/1610612750/onoffcourt/advanced/?Season=2011-12&sort=DEF_RATING&dir=1)

    After that first season, when Adelman got more healthy Rubio and some upgrades to the playing rotation (Kirilenko for a year, then last year’s crew) the total defense got WAY better; almost shockingly good, if you consider the physical limitations of many rotation players (Ridnour, Shved, Kevin Martin, Love, Pekovic). The Wolves ranked 13th in defense in 2012-13 and 12th in defense in 2013-14. Top half of the league.

    If these Timberwolves, with Rubio, Wiggins and Dieng, don’t defend at least in the Top 25 or so (hardly a high standard to meet!) for the last couple months of the season, there is probably a coaching issue that needs to be addressed. In the NBA, certain coaches — you know the names — consistently trot out good-to-great defense. As this piece lays out beautifully, it’s a team-oriented task which starts with the coaching staff and its ability to impart ideal strategy to its players. The Wolves have enough athleticism and smarts – with Rubio at the top of the key, anyway – to play better D than this.

    We’ll see.

    Great column as always.

    • Submitted by Jeff Germann on 01/05/2015 - 02:18 pm.

      What year was Bill Bayno here?

      I think its been said that he was the main architect of our solid defense back then….

      When it comes to defense coaching does seem to make a difference.

    • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 01/05/2015 - 02:23 pm.

      I concur

      This team just looks disorganized defensively. Some of that is clearly the youth and lack of experience, but I struggle with how much of it is coaching-related. There’s got to be a way to get these guys playing at least somewhat more competently defensively — even before Rubio comes back — doesn’t there?

    • Submitted by William Delaney on 01/05/2015 - 03:42 pm.

      Player Development

      Excellent point about the frustrating lack of cohesion and (seemingly) learning on defense. I’ll confess that it’s part of why I’m having trouble following other fans into the consolation bliss of a top pick (Okafor, Towns, whomever that might be) in the 2015 Draft. Sure, the Wolves might get another supremely talented player, but how can any reasonable fan at this point have any confidence that the organization (and current coach) will be able to help that player develop, and moreover do so concurrently with the other young talent on this team? I guess I’m just too beaten down by the organizational rot that starts all the way at the top to have much optimism for the future. I very much enjoy some of the young players on this team, and almost pity them that they’re stuck in a situation where it’s seemingly 100% on them to develop themselves because they won’t get much help from the organization (if recent history is any guide).

      Thanks as always for the insightful commentary, Britt.

  4. Submitted by Greg Kerkvliet on 01/05/2015 - 03:20 pm.

    Change in path

    I don’t think it necessarily stunts a young guy’s development to go through losing, but it does change their path in ways that may help or hurt. We got to avoid seeing Muhammad and Dieng look like LaVine on the floor last season because they could absorb those adjustments behind the scenes. Their skill development may be altered, but losing has been common currency for all but the most fortunate NBA youngsters. Sustained losing and/or adversity is what becomes problematic and leads to things like Love forcing his way out.

    The main unanswered question for me is what the differences are between NBA offensive and defensive schemes compared to lower levels. That obviously depends on the team, but it would clarify what the biggest adjustments are for a rookie. I’m mostly curious if the biggest adjustments are physical, psychological, or intellectual.

    Another notable unanswered question is how big of a task it is to re-make the team and re-define roles mid-season. They basically removed 4 of the guys who gave them their best chance to win this season and forced guys with little to no NBA experience (including Muhammad and Dieng) to take on much different responsibilities than they expected during training camp. I still haven’t figured out how much slack to cut the staff and the players; the results look awful, and the strategy is questionable, but the injuries and Brewer trade cost the team what little continuity they had from last season.

    Their season so far epitomizes the problem with PR campaigns. Eyes on the Rise doesn’t work when 2 of the 4 guys on the poster need to earn their way into the rotation and the new PF isn’t really a veteran leader. Anyone who follows this team closely saw through that BS and realized that their success would be propelled by their returning vets because veteran players and continuity are the biggest factors in NBA success, but for those who were genuinely excited, there must be some tremendous cognitive dissonance about this team right now.

  5. Submitted by Alex Berg on 01/05/2015 - 05:21 pm.

    As a Wolves fan, reading stuff like this is therapy

    The Wolves’ injuries, by and large, were unavoidable. Tough luck and all that.

    The Wolves wretched defense and complete inability/refusal/failure to commit to better defense, on the other hand, is happening because of them. Flip & Co. can do something about it. Trade guys. Trade Thad. Trade Bennett. Trade Mo. Trade Bud. Trade anyone who isn’t a part of the team’s future and who also won’t or can’t buy into the idea of team defense. I realize the return on these guys at the moment is minimal, but that’s fine. Dump em for scraps if need be. It’s better in the long run.

    This article hits on the exact reason why Flip needs to move on this. The future of this team (Zach, Shabazz, Ricky, Wiggins, Gorgui) needs to be protected and cultivated. If these guys are being subjected to bad habits that could seriously stunt their development then whoever is doing the stunting needs to go. The season is lost in terms of wins. I’d much rather pack this team with lesser talent who can model the right way to play than let guys, who aren’t contributing to wins anyways, do any damage that we will have to endure long after they are out of the league.

    I like your suggestion of benching Thad, Britt. For my money, I’d rather send him back to the East for the best deal I could get (even if that is simply for an expiring contract) and go harvest the best talent I could find in the Dleague or Europe or China. By “best talent” I mean a guy who understands the game, will play hard every night, and will model professionalism to the young guys on roster.

  6. Submitted by Tom Om on 01/05/2015 - 11:55 pm.

    Defense, Rubio.

    The Wolves are 30th (last) in protecting the rim, and 30th in opponents shooting %. They are 29th in defensive rebounds per game, and 29th in defensive rebound %. But surprisingly showed enough athleticism to be 3rd in offensive rebounds per game (in some parts of the season they were first), 5th in offensive rebounds %, 3rd in steals (even without Brewer), and 20th in shot-blocks.
    On the other hand, the Undersized (and not so athletic) Warriors are doing a much better job protecting the rim (4th ), defending the outside shots (3rd), defending total opponents shooting% (1st), and on the defensive boards (2nd).
    So the only conclusion from this “pile” of stats should be that the much more athletic Wolves should do much better than being last on defense.

    I really hope that Saunders will not rush Rubio back. It looks like his injury is similar to the one that Curry had, and we all know that curry came back too soon, re-injured his ankle twice, needed a surgery that caused him to stay out of the court for a long period of time, and since then Curry has never been able to play defense.

  7. Submitted by Chris MICKOLICHEK on 01/06/2015 - 01:05 pm.


    After last night’s game, it is become more clear that the Young is clearly not playing with much desire. After Faried toasted him only two short weeks ago, he got burnt countless times last night. Kenny could have 50 points. Kenny beat him down the floor countless times in a row for pin downs or over top passes that lead to dunks. Hustle is the one thing that a player can control and it appears to me that Young has his set to “simmer”.
    The problem with Britt’s theory about wanting out is that he has been exposed as under sized to complete in the West at 4 and the number of teams that would pay him 10 million next season has to be just one or two.

  8. Submitted by Fern Vander Hart on 01/07/2015 - 01:04 pm.

    This is a year to be weathered

    Here is the deal from my amateurish point of view: Everything Flip planned for this season has gone wrong, and there just hasn’t been much he could do about it. We will never know if his plans to mix vets and youngsters would have been somewhat of a success, though we might get a glimpse when we get Martin and Rubio back on the floor (I have no confidence Pek will return at any point in the future) with the kids. The first few games before everyone got hurt showed some promise–still wish we had won that Bulls game. Whether Flip is a poor coach or an adequate coach or a good coach doesn’t signify much since he can only play the guys he has and most are barely, if not at all, NBA ready. For example, I am always blown away by people who expected Wiggins to come in and be a star immediately. Not only do the fans have to weather this rotten year, so do the players. They have to learn what it is like to lose and how to rise above it and prepare for better days. And, OK, Wolves fans are tired of weathering crappy years and deserve more, but it isn’t happening this year.

  9. Submitted by Tom Om on 01/07/2015 - 03:35 pm.

    Blurbs like this one worry me:
    Mark Spears, Yahoo Sports 12/28/14. “The Minnesota Timberwolves EXPECT point guard Ricky Rubio to return from his severe ankle injury in mid-January, a league source told”
    Rubio on 12/28/14 via
    “I wish,” Rubio said Saturday when asked if he knows when he will play again. “I’ve been saying it’s two weeks for the last month. I don’t want to say anymore dates. I’ve been saying in two weeks I think I’ll be ready and two weeks go by and I still can’t play and I get mad. I don’t want to get in a bad mood again. I’m not going to ask for a date again. I go as my body will let me do.”

    It looks like someone is trying to put some pressure on him.

  10. Submitted by Tom Om on 01/07/2015 - 03:50 pm.

    Young. Diaw

    The road to recovery from a loss of a parent can be very difficult and long, and can affect the ability to function normally for months.
    Sometimes a change of scenery can help.

    Boris Daiw gave 3 solid years (statistically among the best of his career) to Charlotte. By the fourth one he wanted out. He didn’t leave for the money. He wanted to win, and signed with SA for half the money that he made in Charlotte. 4.5 M in SA vs. 9 M in Charlotte.

    So I believe that even if Young wants out it is not because he hopes to make more money.

  11. Submitted by Scott Olstad on 01/08/2015 - 05:02 pm.

    Great article as always, Britt

    I stumbled upon this quote just now and needed to share.

    “I never learned anything by losing.” — Larry Bird

  12. Submitted by Tom Om on 01/08/2015 - 11:13 pm.

    But that what Bird said as coach:

    But that what he said as coach:
    “Obviously losing is very difficult, but when you’re rebuilding you know you’re going through stages, it’s going to be tough, but as long as you draft the players and you see a bright future, I think it’s going to be lights at the end of the tunnel, it’s going to be very good, not only for me, but for the franchise and that’s what’s most important.”

  13. Submitted by Tom Moore on 01/12/2015 - 12:17 pm.

    from the piece: “but Saunders should leapfrog over Bennett and either start Muhammad or Robbie Hummel at power forward.” Yikes!

    Mo Williams at pg with Brewer on the wing – and signing a veteran who will add value for the remainder of the season (in lieu of ten day guys) would have done more for Wiggins’ development than his just getting extra minutes and extra shots on a truly awful team.

    Flip, in my opinion, is tanking for a draft pick and risking Wiggins’ development in the process. Playing time for one-dimensional Muhammud and an overmatched Levine now won’t mean a better team in 2016. They need to waive Buddinger (he may be worst NBA player getting quality minutes – check the stats if you disagree), sign the top available sg from the D-league or from still available veterans, keep a big man around rather than going the ten day route (even if it means waiving another non-contributor and eating a contract to make roster space), and use the young guys where they have a chance at success and not just wherever they can get minutes.

    I won’t be buying another ticket until they do their best to compete now, however relatively small the move. Playing for a pick won’t help this team get better long-term.

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