By: Dan Slaubaugh
Happy #WigginsWednesday, Wolves fans. Tonight, the Wolves (12-23) are back in Minneapolis to take on the Denver Nuggets (12-23). Minnesota are losers of 3 straight and 7 of their last 8, while Denver has lost 6 straight. Tonight, something's gotta give.
What: Wolves - Nuggets
Where: Target Center. Minneapolis, Minnesota.
When: 7:00 pm CST
Where to watch: Fox Sports North
Where to listen: 830 WCCO Radio
Heeee's back! The "godfather" will return to the court tonight after not playing in an NBA basketball game since March 11, 2015, because he decided that undergoing debridement and repair of his right achilles was best for his career, and possibly a last ditch resort if he wanted his basketball career to continue. It will be interesting to see how Sam mixes and matches the Wolves frontcourt with Pek returning. Personally, I'm excited to see him share the floor with Towns. Pek can crash and bang down low while Towns can roam the perimeter a little more, exhibiting and utilizing his soft touch (that should return soon).
Denver could get back starting point guard Emmanuel Mudiay tonight, who injured his ankle against Minnesota Dec. 11 and has not been available since. Denver has dealt with injuries all season, so getting Mudiay back should give them an energy boost they desperately need.
Minnesota has desperately struggled on the boards as of late, and it won't get any easier tonight having to deal with Kenneth Faried, who has built his identity off of being relentless on the boards and brining it 110% every night. The Wolves will simply need to wake up down low or they will be in a heap of trouble once again.
Thoughts on Sam Mitchell
Instead of writing a paragraph about Sam, I'll l just let you read Steve McPherson's thoughts on Mitchell, because he will do a much better job at educating you than I will.
Team skips practice, holds team meeting
After an embarrassing loss to the lowly 76ers Monday night, Sam Mitchell thought it was best for both the coaching staff and the players to speak and clear their minds at practice Tuesday. It gave an opportunity for everyone to offer up their view on the current state of the team. What is going wrong? What changes need to be made going forward? Those were the type of topics being discussed in the meeting.
"I think it was good for us, for our young guys to hear what they think of each other and what they expect from each other," Mitchell said. "It was all positive. But everybody was just honest with each other, with the expectations of each other, what we need to give, from each other, to make our team more complete." - Quote provided by Jon Krawcynski (AP)
Let's hope it kick-starts the team and gets them going in the right direction once again.
That's all I have for this one. The Wolves have a brutal stretch coming up, so a win tonight would be nice to give the team some positive momentum going forward.
Thanks for reading. Enjoy the game. Go Wolves!
By: Dan Slaubaugh
We are happy to announce that our Twitter account is now featured on Bleacher Report.
Pretty cool, right?
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We'd also like to thank you guys/gals (our fans and followers) for making this possible. Without you, the content we produce would be pointless.
Thank you, fans.
Here's the link to B/R's Wolves page: bleacherreport.com/minnesota-timberwolves
By: Alex Berg
I think just about everyone can recognize the impact Kevin Garnett has in the Minnesota Timberwolves locker room. The leadership and mentorship he provides for a team full of young players cannot be shown on a statsheet.
Yet somehow it seems like you cannot watch a game at Target Center, or other public places, without hearing at least one person cry out “Why are they starting a 40-year-old?” or “He’s too washed up!”
True, the KG that us Minnesota basketball fans grew to know and love is long gone. This 39-year-old veteran is not going to average 22 points and 13 rebounds. He probably won’t ever do that in a game again. But that doesn’t mean he’s washed up -- yet.
On the surface, Garnett’s 3.5 points and 4.6 rebounds looks pretty replaceable. When you extrapolate that to per-36 minutes played, he is up to 8.2 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. That’s serviceable, right? Another stat that doesn’t look to bad when expanding it over 36 minutes is his 1.9 steals. That’s a higher rate than Rajon Rondo, Jimmy Butler, and Paul George.
His plus-rating on the season is positive and in the team’s 12 wins this season, the team is a plus-6.8 when the Big Ticket is on the floor. The Timberwolves are 12-16 when KG plays and are winless in the four games he has rested.
If the 15-20 minutes of fairly efficient is not enough for you, what is your plan for the power forward position? Sure watching Gorgui Dieng play with Karl-Anthony Towns is fun, but that can only happen for a handful of minutes each night; and going small with Shabazz Muhammad can be effective in short spurts against smaller teams, but it is a pretty big size and defensive downgrade. Right now Adreian Payne, Damjan Rudez, and Nemanja Bjelica should not be counted on to provide anything other than a brief boost of energy.
The other argument against Garnett is his $8.5-million salary this season. Who cares? Where is the team going to spend that money this season? There is no such thing as a bad short-term contract on a roster like the Timberwolves have now. Any short contract now is better than a long-term deal that will tie up money that could go to the younger players down the road.
Sure, Garnett’s statline is not the eye-popping one we grew accustomed to over a decade ago. His offensive arsenal is limited, but he is still a solid mid-range shooter -- for his size. He still has one of the better defensive rebounding rates in basketball and is one of the better defenders on this young team, especially off-the-ball.
Despite his age, KG is still the clear best option at the power forward position on this basketball team. His performance has been better than his per-game line suggests and that doesn’t include everything that simply won’t show up on the statsheet.