Jace Frederick / St. Paul Pioneer Press
MINNEAPOLIS — The sight outside of Target Center on Sunday was better than the one inside, especially for Lynx fans who watched their team lose a nail-biter to the Los Angeles Sparks in the season opener. Maya Moore's presence was fully felt in the game, but she loomed larger than life a short distance from the arena. For 24 hours, downtown Minneapolis was home to a massive Jordan Brand poster that featured Moore re-enacting the famous "Wings" poster from 1989 that featured Michael Jordan himself. "It was amazing," Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. "It was the talk."
MINNEAPOLIS—The hype videos were great. The pregame championship ring ceremony was memorable. The Target Center crowd was electric. Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve thanked the fans and the team's game operations staff for all of that to start off her postgame press conference on Sunday, May 20. "And we could probably end with that, if you want," Reeve said, "because there wasn't much more after that."
MINNEAPOLIS — Moving forward, Mark Coyle will be more informed during Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action investigations that involve Gophers student-athletes. The new student-athlete code of conduct, which came into effect in January, outlines a process in which more communication exists between the athletic director and other University of Minnesota entities.
MINNEAPOLIS — Minutes after the Timberwolves season ended in a Game 5 loss to Houston in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, Andrew Wiggins started to reflect. In his final performance of the season, a 122-104 loss in Houston, Wiggins tallied 14 points on 5-for-14 shooting, committed two turnovers and had not a single assist. "I kept losing the ball a lot," Wiggins said. "Just got to take it into the summer and use it as motivation."
MINNEAPOLIS — By the end of the season, there weren't many reasons left to criticize what was one of Tom Thibodeau's most scrutinized moves to date with the Timberwolves. Derrick Rose proved his worth in his short time in Minnesota. The veteran guard and former NBA MVP provided valuable wing depth to a team desperate for it, supplying a scoring burst and, more importantly, a toughness and a defensive presence in the playoffs to help keep Minnesota somewhat in a series against Houston in which its lack of perimeter depth was tested.
MINNEAPOLIS — The Lynx's offseason plans changed when rumblings of a comeback came out of Charlotte. Veteran guard Tanisha Wright had stepped away from playing basketball prior to the 2017 WNBA season, citing a need to rest, and last fall was hired as an assistant coach for the UNC-Charlotte women's basketball team. "I needed to just regroup," Wright said. But around January, she felt the want to return to action. A few good workouts led to a few more and "a few teams caught wind," she said.
ST. PAUL — Scott Layden has regrets about the February trade deadline. Although in the thick of the race for home-court advantage in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, the Timberwolves sat idly as the deadline came and went, passing on a chance to improve their roster for the home stretch. "Could we have been more aggressive? We had a lot of things that went back and forth and maybe we should've done something a little different," the Wolves general manager said Monday. "I take responsibility for that."
MINNEAPOLIS—Tom Thibodeau isn't the most popular coach in Minnesota. The Timberwolves' head coach and president of basketball operations is questioned at every turn, each decision scrutinized and, often, criticized. From his sideline mannerisms to his rotations to his schemes, almost everyone has found something for which to criticize Thibodeau, an odd dynamic given the fact that the Wolves made the playoffs this season for the first time since 2004. Thibodeau hears the criticism, but he doesn't pay it much mind.
MINNEAPOLIS — With the Timberwolves' playoff drought over and a strong veteran base on the team, Minnesota has safely departed the rebuild phase and jumped straight into a transitional summer. Assuming he's back next season, Tom Thibodeau — the Wolves' coach and president of basketball operations — has a slew of decisions to make as he attempts to improve a roster in need of changes without virtually any salary cap space. But before Thibodeau makes any decisions about what he can and will do this summer, he must first answer these questions:
HOUSTON — Following the Timberwolves' season-ending Game 5 loss to the Rockets on Wednesday night, Taj Gibson went up to Minnesota's younger players and said two words: "Step 1." Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau said that when you're trying to get out of a "hole" such as Minnesota's 14-year playoff drought and change franchise's culture "there's going to be steps that you have to take along the way." This, in Gibson's mind, was No. 1.