NBA expert: Wolves are struggling because they were 'Sam Mitchell-ed'

NBA expert David Thorpe blames the Wolves' rough start on ex-head coach Sam Mitchell.
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ESPN basketball wonk David Thorpe couldn't glow any more about the Timberwolves than he did on The Lowe Post podcast with Zach Lowe.

Unless he was talking about ex-Wolves head coach Sam Mitchell.

Thorpe called Mitchell a "terrible" coach who "set the franchise back" and "sent (Andrew) Wiggins back." Specifically, Thorpe blames Minnesota's early-season defensive struggles on the guy the Wolves fired last season.

"They're just terrible defensively because they've been what I call Sam Mitchell-ed. I don't think you can just recover from Sam Mitchell being your coach in just a couple weeks, which is really what we're talking about here," Thorpe said. "I think over time this team will drop a little bit offensively, but significantly improve defensively and end up being a team that can threaten for that seven or eight spot in the West."

Minnesota's first three losses of the season were by 10 points total. Instead of being 3-7, ESPN's True Hoop podcast crew agreed the Wolves should easily be 6-4 or better if not for their third-worst defense in the league.

"Over time, I think that he'll (head coach Tom Thibodeau) do what he did in Chicago and they'll be a much better defensive team," Thorpe added.

Raving about Wiggins

"If you built an athlete in a lab, that's who you'd build," Thorpe said, and Lowe agreed.

"He's obviously not going to shoot 55 percent," said Lowe, referring to Wiggins' league-leading 3-point percentage. "If he can be an average 3-point shooter, their world could change if that's real."

How good could the Wolves be? "I really think they're going to be an amazing team to watch as Wiggins and Towns take over the league," said Thorpe.

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