1/15/2016 0 Comments
By: Dan Slaubaugh
Hello, everyone. It's Friday! So that's fun. Also, the Wolves play tonight, on ESPN, against the Thunder. So that should also (hopefully) be fun. The Wolves (12-28) are in a funk, having lost 12 of their past 13 games, while the Thunder (28-12) have been playing great basketball as of late having won 8 out of their last 10 and 11 of 14.
The Thunder handled the Wolves with ease in Tuesday night's matchup at Target Center. That is, until the 4th quarter, where the lineup of Lavine-Bazz-Wiggins-Bjelica-Dieng sparked a comeback that ultimately fell short. In that 4th quarter, the Wolves outscored the Thunder 30-21 and all 5 Wolves on the court (down the stretch) were +8 or better in the +/- column. I'd truly like to see more of that unit tonight, well, because it worked Tuesday night...and the Wolves have struggled finding consistent lineups all season.
Again, just like Tuesday night, whoever guards Westbrook and Durant will have to be at their very best defensively if Minnesota wants any chance at a W.
The Wolves frontcourt minute distribution has gotten a little bit more interesting as of late with 5 players capable and deserving of a set amount of minutes each night. Here's how I would go about the manner (per game, obviously):
Garnett: 10 minutes
Towns: 30 minutes
Bjelica: 21 minutes
Dieng: 21 minutes
Pek: 15 minutes
That would be if all were healthy on the same night. There have been reports that Pek and KG will switch places on back-to-backs which would make the minute distribution much easier for Mitchell to handle, and also makes the most sense.
The 2015 Rookie of the Year has been on a tear over the past 4 games, averaging 26.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.3 assists while shooting 50.7% from the field, 37.5% from three point range, and 76.5% from the line. These are the kind of numbers we would like to see on a consistent basis. Let's hope he can continue his stellar play and lead the team to a couple of wins this next week.
If you haven't read Britt Robson's Q&A with Sam Mitchell, I strongly suggest you do. Sam explains lots of things, including how hard it is to work with under-developed players. Here are some of my thoughts.
It is confusing (if what Sam is saying is valid) why the youth of this team is extremely under-developed and are struggling majorly with the basics of basketball. The reason because most (Wiggins, Towns, Dieng, Jones) have came from top-tier CBB coaches such as Mike Krzyewski, John Calipari, Bill Self, and Rick Pitino. I'm not an expert, so I'm not going to go into full detail on this, but it seems odd the young pups would have been coached and developed so poorly by the greatest coaches in college basketball.
Seems far-fetched, if you ask me.
I may get scolded for this, but he could be trying to use this as an excuse to why it's taking so long to be competitive. (AKA: trying to buy himself another year).
Anyway, that rounds up my thoughts on Mitchell.
Well, that's all I have for this one. Don't forget, tonight's game is slated to begin at 6 because it is the tipoff matchup of tonight's ESPN NBA doubleheader. Let's hope the Wolves come out energized, focused, and put on a good showing in front of the national audience.
Prediction: Wolves lose 108-98
Thanks for reading. Enjoy the game. Go Wolves.