MINNEAPOLIS – When Robert Covington, Dario Saric and Jerryd Bayless entered their hotel room in Minnesota, they found a worthy prize from the Timberwolves All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns: winter coat.
After overnight temperatures dropped to 7 degrees, the newest member of the team through trade with Jimmy Butler with Philadelphia appreciated the welcome of Minnesota's best players. Butler's awkward and protracted departure created a cold atmosphere around the organization, but now that the agreement was finally complete, the Wolves began trying to warm the atmosphere again.
"We can't wait to go to court, put on that jersey and wear it for this city," Covington said at a press conference at the Target Center on Tuesday afternoon that only brought less hits than Butlers open to public introductions at the Mall of America less than 17 last month.
When Butler officially joined the 76ers, Wolves spun forward after the victory of a pressure drop on Brooklyn on Monday night after the 0-5 trip.
Both Covington and Saric did not play against the Nets, but they were on track to rise to the floor on Wednesday night against New Orleans. Bayless was injured, rehabilitated the hiperextension right knee, and with the fatigue of the guard point on the list, he was not expected to see playing time even after he was healthy. Both Covington and Saric were starters for the Sixers, who finished third in the Eastern Conference last season at 52-30.
"They are both young, and they will get better. Both are very good at defending themselves. "They both shot 3. We think they match the people we have," said the basketball operations president and coach Tom Thibodeau. "After we arrived at the point where we felt we were getting some rotation players, we felt it was time to implement the agreement. When we first started, it didn't happen. "
As for whether the Timberwolves could be better off without Butler, the All-Star four times with extraordinary abilities at both ends in court, Thibodeau objected.
"We have to focus on who is here. We think we have a good and young core, and we have to build it, "Thibodeau said.
Covington is the center of the package.
The 27-year-old, who was not registered with Tennessee State and started in the NBA with Houston in the 2013-14 season, has a career average of 12.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game with 35.9 percent shots from 3-6 point ranges. The 6-foot-9 Covington is the First All-Defensive Team to choose last season with a career deflection — the most 315 and a defensive rating of 99.0 that leads all forward in the league with at least 30 minutes per game. He is ninth in the NBA by stealing an average of 1.7 per game.
That is the area where he will help the Timberwolves most, the area Butler also gets to help improve.
"In order to stay in this league and be effective, you have to be able to go there and be able to stop someone on the other end," Covington said, adding: "I think I watch more of the first few films I've seen in my life. , as far as just different people and watching how they read certain things and building the habit of watching players and everything. So I would say the last few seasons were when things started to sound. "
The 24-year-old Saric was named for the All-Rookie First Team in 2016-17. The native Croats have a career average of 13.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. He shot 39.3 percent from last season's 3-point range.
Covington will likely fill Butler's starting point. Thibodeau was able to move Taj Gibson to the second unit and make Saric a starter. The 6-foot-10 Saric, which is the 12th overall choice in the 2014 draft, is a classic "four stretch" with power forward sizes and small forward shots. He fused with Sixers center Joel Embiid, so Towns had the potential to complete his game.
"KAT shot far better than the 3-point line than Joel, and it looks like we can play with each other," Saric said, adding: "If I find a way to play with Joel, I think I can find a way to play with KAT."
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