The Minnesota Timberwolves are one of the many teams that had significant roster movement during the offseason. Ricky Rubio is gone - replaced by the often under-rated Jeff Teague, and the TWolves somehow managed to convince the Chicago Bulls to trade three-time All-Star Jimmy Butler for...Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the No. 7 overall pick? Cool, cool.
That’s almost as bad as coughing up the rights to a player like Jordan Bell for cash considerations, WAKE UP CHICAGO!
Who: Warriors vs. Timberwolves
When: 7:30 p.m.; Wednesday, November 8
Where: Oracle Arena
WATCH: NBCSBA, ESPN
LISTEN: 95.7 The Game
GSW: PG - Stephen Curry, SG - Klay Thompson, SF - Kevin Durant, PF - Draymond Green and C - Zaza Pachulia
MIN: PG - Jeff Teague, SG - Jimmy Butler, SF - Andrew Wiggins, PF - Taj Gibson and C - Karl-Anthony Towns
INJURY & ROSTER NOTES
Damian Jones is on G League assignment. Team Notes
Justin Patton (left foot surgery) is out. Team Notes
The Minnesota Timberwolves
When you think about teams who embody the next generation of NBA talent, Karl Anthony-Towns and the TWolves are often one of the first mentioned. They’ve already got generational talents in Towns and possibly Wiggins, and they seem to have managed to assemble a roster around them that can keep pace with their development. Towns averages around 20 points and 11 rebounds per game, and his combination of size, skill, and shooting touch are going to be a problem for NBA defenders for a long time.
He’s not alone though. The Wolves completely remade their backcourt this offseason with Jimmy Butler and Jeff Teague providing excellent two-way value. Also joining the folds, veteran defensive stud Taj Gibson has come back to work under his old coach Tom Thibodeau and has taken the starting Power Forward spot from Gorgui Dieng who has seen his role decrease from 34.4 to 15.4 minutes per game.
Much like the Spurs, the Timberwolves don’t care to shoot many threes; their three point attempt rate ranks 27th in the league. But don’t be fooled into thinking they can’t score. In spite of a middling pace the TWolves boast the 5th best offensive efficiency in the NBA right now. Towns, Wiggins, and Butler are the main contributors, but they also got solid contributions from Teague (13 points per game) and old man Jamal Crawford, who is still managing to chip in 10 points per game in 20 minutes off the bench.
Don’t underestimate this team! The Twolves come in very hot and are on a five-game winning streak that has featured improved defense, and some close wins.
Basketball reference team stats:
TS/G: 109.4 (6th of 30) Opp PTS/G: 109.8 (26th of 30)
The Golden State Warriors
The Warriors are coming in on a hot streak of their own, with their recent trouncing of the Miami Heat bumping our streak up to four wins in a row - and eight of the last nine games. Much like the TWolves, the Warriors stumbled a bit coming into the season, but are beginning to “lock in” as Steph Curry would say.
I know I’m not supposed to put too much stock in these extremely small sample sizes, but as per Anthony Slater’s recent article at The Athletic, our defense in particular has begun to emerge as a major factor during this win streak:
Their defensive rating for the season: Down to 102.9, 15th stingiest. Their defensive rating during this win streak: 93.2. Their defensive rating against the Heat: 75.1.
Slater also points out that although we shot well versus the Pistons (57%), we lost that game partially because we turned the ball over 26 times. Twenty. Six. Turnovers. Yuck. Against the Heat, the shots were most definitely not falling, but we got away with a win in spite of shooting a frosty-cold 36% because we only turned the ball over 14 times. The Warriors are going to have to keep that up against the TWolves, as their offense is more than capable of capitalizing on our mistakes.
This game should be much prettier and faster than the slog we endured going against the Heat, so hopefully our guys can pull out an enjoyable win to keep the streak going.
Oh, and by the way, this is the team we will be facing for GSOM night in January. I don’t know what to do with that information, but feel compelled to share it.
And finally, do you like these statistical summaries from basketball-reference.com? I always pull them up and review them, but felt like it makes the preview too crowded with numbers...thoughts?
Basketball reference team stats:
PTS/G: 118.5 (1st of 30) Opp PTS/G: 108.5 (22nd of 30)
Klay Thompson gets another block.
Javale McGee outscores Patrick McCaw.
Warriors win by single digits.