MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Timberwolves have under achieved again as we sit at the NBA All-Star break. But what needs to change? And what benefit is there to even talking about making the playoffs?

The Wolves are where they have been before: young, with potential and gaining a half-hearted complement from a superstar.

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“They got great talent,” Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James said. “And they got a bright future.”

The truth is they did not produce an all-star this season because they have not won enough, and they have not won enough because they don’t play defense well enough.

“Until we win, that’s not going to happen. So we have to win, and the only way we’re going to win is if we play both sides of the ball,” said Wolves Head Coach Tom Thibodeau.

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It’s not that the Timberwolves will make the playoffs this season as much as they are mentioned in the playoff picture. The reason it’s important is that it provides hope, and with hope you have fewer players going on the injured list and more players focused on the task at hand.

Being in the conversation counts, according to one veteran, who says it builds experience.

“I remember my third year when we won 40 games. We were talking about playoffs all season long. That helped the team through it all,” said guard Ricky Rubio. “When you get to a point when you’re after all-star break and you see that you don’t have a chance to make the playoffs, you’re not learning as much. So you just want to be in that type of conversation and actually make it.”

But again, none of that matters if you don’t defend, and this team is a long way from making stops that will lead to contention.

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“I just lock in on defense,” forward Andrew Wiggins said. “You know, square up anybody. You just got to defend.”

Mike Max