The Minnesota Timberwolves have hopes of competing with the best teams in the Western Conference but were shown just how far they have to go by the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night.
The defending champions thumped the T-Wolves 125-101 at Oracle Arena and ended their five-game winning streak.
At 7-4, Minnesota still has one of the best records in the west but this game showed that they still have some work to do to challenge the top team in the league.
But Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson believes they are heading in the right direction and sees similarities between the youthful Timberwolves and the young Golden State team from his early years in the NBA.
With a talented young duo like Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, a proven All-Star in Jimmy Butler and an established coach in Tom Thibodeau, Klay thinks they're at the early stages of what the Warriors have experienced.
“Yeah, especially adding Jimmy Butler,” Thompson said, per Mark Medina of the San Jose Mercury News. “Jimmy is such a competitor. He does all the intangibles. They got something special over there. Thibs is a great coach. I know those guys play really hard."
Thibodeau also mentioned how he hopes to see the Timberwolves emulate the Oakland-based franchise in ways beyond their success on the court.
He'd like to follow in the footsteps of their rivals by also building a roster with a blend of young players and veterans, both by drafting smartly and acquiring established players that fill multiple roles both on and off the floor in terms of leadership and talent.
After Thompson's nice words, however, he put his opponents to the sword with a terrific display, putting up 28 points on 11-of-20 shooting and 6-of-12 from three-point range last night.
The absence of Kevin Durant through injury saw the three-time All-Star step up and take on a bigger role offensively.
Head coach Steve Kerr was happy to see his team react to the loss of KD and pick up the slack collectively.
"I actually kind of like these games when we have to sit somebody," Kerr said. "We have so much talent, we can afford to miss one of our main guys. It's good for the team, it's good for morale, it's good for individual development, and it forces the group to play together when you're missing one of your main guys."
Stephen Curry almost posted a triple-double with 22 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in the win.
Durant is expected to return for their next encounter against another exciting young team, the Philadelphia 76ers.