What's that 'D' stand for anyways? Normally I'd say Defense, but man, I will probably start referring to it as Dwayne, as in Dwayne Casey, Mr. Defense himself. So far this season I've seen the Wolves do two things they didn't do last year. First off, they look like they care, which is a huge improvement over last years squad that probably wished they gotten their salaries in stamps - and no, not food stamps. Secondly, this team looks like they actually can play defense. Effectively.
Over their first 5 games opponents are scoring less than 90 points per contest(89), shooting a cool 42.3% from the floor, and a miserable 20.3% from The Land of Three. In wins, the Wolves are yielding a meager 79.3 points per game, all of which have been at home. All of those numbers are an improvement on last season's dismal effort on the non-Sam Cassell end of the floor. They're forcing 4 more turnovers per game this year, blocking more shots(7.6bpg), and picking more pockets(6.4) than last year as well.
Sure, the offense isn't as potent, but when you can lock guys down(see Kobe Bryant's 4th quarter on Wednesday) it's not as important. That and you know what they say about defense: It wins championships - see Spurs and Pistons.
Now, I'm not going out there and saying we're gonna win a championship, but it's nice to see that we didn't lose the tools to be a lock down team(see last 9 games before playoffs two years ago), it just took a different system and a different voice on the bench to make that happen.
Defensive Stars Thus Far
Kevin Garnett - Yeah, no, I know he's God, but he's still gettin' his on D. 1.8 blocks and 1.4 steals per game, plus all the times he alters shots, draws extra blockers, and yells in the face of his opponents.
Eddie Griffin - We all know he can't hit anything when he's shooting at peo...I mean three's, but he's definately the benefactor of the extra attention KG gets when they're on defense. 2.4 blocks a contest shows me that he not only has a natural ability for blocking shots, but that he knows he's KG back-up thug in the paint.
AC and Hass - These guys don't do much in the defensive box score, but man, when you need to clamp it down, they come in and make it really tough for opponents to score.