December 14, 2017, 1:54 pm
Following a short two-game stint back at home, the Kings hit the road again to take on the Timberwolves.
Minnesota entered last offseason looking to surround their young talent with some veterans, eventually adding Jimmy Butler and Jeff Teague among others, and the results to this point have been mixed. Minnesota enters Thursday with a 16-12 record, giving them the fourth best mark in the conference. The team is likely happy with their position in the standings, but there is still plenty of room for improvement.
The Kings will have their hands full with Minnesota’s starting five, but Butler is likely the biggest concern of the bunch. Butler can play both ends of the floor at a very high level and his experience will make him a tough matchup for the Kings’ rookies on the perimeter. Garrett Temple is the team’s best bet to slow him down, so the Kings may look to mirror Butler’s minutes with Temple.
The size and athleticism of both Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins may also cause some problems for Sacramento. The Kings don’t have many players available to handle that pair, but the team will want to keep larger lineups on the floor to keep it from becoming too much of an advantage for the Wolves.
The biggest advantage that Sacramento has entering the game will be their bench. The Kings have one of the most productive benches in the league which allows them to keep all their players fresh throughout the game, and keeps them from having big drop-offs in production when the starters exit.
Minnesota’s bench has been a much bigger concern this season. Tom Thibodeau has had to rely heavily on his starters, forcing him to operate with a very tight rotation. The Kings will want to take advantage any time Thibodeau has to send his starters to the bench.
The Kings will have their hands full in Minnesota, but if the team can take advantage of their depth they should have a decent shot at the win.