Tom Thibodeau is Running the Timberwolves' Starters Into the Ground
Jimmy Butler played 46-minutes in a overtime loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night. He also took a season-high 33 field goal attempts. After the game, Butler, who played 40+ minutes for the 6th straight game, blamed the team’s conditioning.
Keep in mind that it has been less than a week since Butler said he would have to talk to Tom Thibodeau about the 40-minute games “starting to add up.” That conversation obviously did not take because Butler has played 41 and 46 minutes in the two games since then.
The Timberwolves are now 4-5 when Butler plays 40+ minutes. They’re 10-7 when he plays fewer than 40-minutes and 0-2 when he doesn’t play at all.
During the loss to the Sixers, four of five Wolves’ starters played 40+ minutes as Thibodeau continues to stick to an 8-man rotation. Taj Gibson only played 40-minutes, but that’s because he fouled out 33-seconds into overtime. This team will not stay healthy and will not continue to win if they don’t figure out a way to stretch this rotation. Thibs either needs to trust his bench or find someone to put on it that he does.