Report: T-Wolves Had DAngelo Russell Attend Lakers-Suns to See Playoff Atmosphere – Bleacher Report
AP Photo/Jim Mone
The Minnesota Timberwolves reportedly had guards D’Angelo Russell and Jaylen Nowell attend Game 1 of the first-round playoff series between the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers.
According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, the Timberwolves’ line of thinking was that it would “show them what it’s like to play among a hectic playoff domain.”
The T-Wolves reportedly plan to continue sending players to big playoff games throughout the postseason in order for them to “gain perspective on what it takes to play at this high of a level.”
Since reaching the playoffs in 2018, the Timberwolves have been among the NBA’s worst teams. They have posted three consecutive losing seasons, including a 19-45 mark in 2019-20.
Minnesota did show some improvement this season, but it went just 23-49, the third-worst record in the Western Conference ahead of only the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets.
Russell and Nowell had the opportunity to watch two of the best teams in the NBA in the form of the second-seeded Suns and a Lakers team that won the NBA championship last season.
While Russell spent his first two NBA seasons with the Lakers as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 draft, he never made the playoffs as a member of the team. He did appear in five games as a member of the Brooklyn Nets in 2019.
Meanwhile, Nowell has no playoff experience over his two NBA seasons with the T-Wolves. He was the team’s second-round pick out of Washington.
The Wolves have only one playoff appearance as a franchise over the past 17 seasons, so having their players take in the playoff atmosphere is a unique and potentially effective tool.
Although the Timberwolves players ultimately have to grow and improve as a unit on the court, making them hungrier for playoff basketball can’t be considered anything other than a good thing.