By: Nathan Brinkman
The Wolves will play the second game of their home stand tonight against the up and coming Philadelphia 76ers. Philadelphia has become one of the better teams in the eastern conference this season after tanking for several consecutive seasons previously. Second year center Joel Embiid and rookie point forward Ben Simmons look to be some of the best upcoming players in the NBA. This could make for a rivalry with the wolves with the young core of Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns.
What to watch for:
Star Power: This game feature the top two young cores in all of basketball. Towns and Wiggins against Simmons and Embiid (who is questionable with back stiffness). These players are fully aware of the hype associated with their names and I think we will see some great matchup considering Simmons and Wiggins play the same position, as do Towns and Embiid. In my opinion, whichever duo plays better will come out on top.
Tough Competition: The Sixers will be the best team in which the Wolves have faced recently, as they have played low level teams in four straight games. Although the teams were not so good, the wolves did not have any dominant performances or signature wins. Squeaking games out while going 3-1 over that stretch. If the wolves do not elevate their level of play to face a better team, the will be embarrassed at home by Philly.
Butler: Taking into consideration the aforementioned match ups of young superstars, the wolves do have one huge advantage: Jimmy Butler. Butler will be the only player with All-Star experience on the court tonight. Furthermore, the Sixers have JJ Redick slotted into their starting shooting guard spot. While Redick is a premier three point shooter, he will have a very hard time defending the significantly larger and more athletic Butler. Look for Butler to be the X-factor in tonights contest.
Minnesota: PG Jeff Teague, SG Andrew Wiggins, SF Jimmy Butler, PF Taj Gibson, C Karl-Anthony Towns
Philadelphia: PG Ben Simmons, SG JJ Redick, SF Robert Covington, PF Dario Saric, C Joel Embiid
Philly wins 106-97. The wolves just have not looked all that great all of late and Philadelphia is a tough team.