By: Jonah Sprinkel
Happy Friday Wolves fans? I don't know what to tell you. I literally don't have the words to explain where this team is at or where they're headed. I, as well as the rest of the crew here at On the Prowl, are near a state of depression.
I can honestly say I have not seen two more lackadaisical and nonchalant basketball games from any Wolves team. For whatever reason, the core, Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns, do not seem to be interested in becoming leaders. The true leader, Jimmy Butler, has been sidelined and is questionable tonight with an upper respiratory infection. Without him, Timberwolves heartbeat beats faintly. It's a sad, sad, sight. This team absolutely needs Butler back as soon as possible, providing he's 100% healthy.
The theme that has haunted the Wolves for years has reared it's ugly head once again: Don't fall too far behind in the playoff race.
What: Thunder @ Wolves
When: 7:00 PM CT
Where: Target Center. Minneapolis, MN.
Where to watch: Fox Sports North
Where to listen: 830 WCCO
What to watch for
On any other OTP game preview I would have three things for you to watch for. Today isn't a normal day. The Wolves are absolutely terrible without Jimmy Butler. The only encouraging thing for Wolves fans is the fact that the team is 2-1 when Butler has played. This infection of Butler's has truly exposed the Wolves for what they are; a team full of parts that doesn't truly fit together on either ends of the floor in the modern NBA. That's not to say that they won't be successful. They can, and I believe will be, successful with time. But, it will truly have to be a team effort. The Wolves will not win on talent alone.
The defense is horrendous. I mean horrendous. The Wolves are LAST IN THE LEAGUE IN DEFENSIVE RATING. The team coached by Tom Thibodeau has the worst defense in the league. Through five games the Wolves have posted a 114.0 defensive rating. The 28th and 29th ranked defenses clock in at 111.5 and 111.4 respectively. Those teams? The Chicago Bulls and the Dallas Mavericks.
Do me a favor, go look at those two rosters. Don't worry, I'll wait.
All done? Great.
Now answer me this one question.
If you had to play NBA 2K18 with the Wolves, Bulls or Mavericks, who would you choose?
If you chose the Wolves, you chose wisely. If you chose either of the two teams you're either a diehard fan or you don't know how to have fun.
My greater point in all of this is that the Wolves are far and away more talented than either of those teams. Honestly, they're more talented than the majority of NBA teams. As I said above, they can't win on just talent. KAT and Wiggins need to learn very quickly that their talent may have gotten them this far, but it won't take them any further. It's time to dig in, show some emotion and win some freaking basketball games.
Minnesota: PG Jeff Teague, SG Andrew Wiggins, SF Shabazz Muhammad, PF Taj Gibson, C Karl-Anthony Towns
Oklahoma City: PG Russell Westbrook, SG Andre Roberson, SF Paul George, PF Carmelo Anthony, C Steven Adams
Minnesota: Jimmy Butler (questionable, respiratory infection), Justin Patton (foot)
Oklahoma City: PJ Dozier, Daniel Hamilton, Kyle Singler
If Butler plays, the Wolves win 112-107. If he doesn't play, the Wolves lose 200-98 and we all continue to question why we spent two and a half hours staring at the TV.