February 24, 2018, 6:20 pm
While the news of Jimmy Butler remains on everyone’s mind, the Wolves must have a short memory and take care of business on their home court.
With or without Butler, the importance of the next two games for the Wolves matters just the same. The schedule really tightens up in the weeks ahead, with eight straight games versus teams currently above .500 and four of them coming on the road.
Their next two games are versus the last-place Bulls and the last-place Kings, though, giving the Wolves two favorable matchups ahead of the big grind. There’s no automatic wins in this league, but these next two are about as winnable as it gets.
The Wolves allowed the Kings to hang in much too long in the last meeting, and they lost to the Bulls before the All-Star break on the road. That simply cannot happen again. Every win down the stretch matters, and every loss could be the difference.
In the last meeting versus the Bulls, the Wolves were at the mercy of Zach LaVine and his quest for revenge. He scored 35 points and hit the game-winning shot against his first team and looked every bit of his former, healthy self.
Of course Butler scored 38 points for the Wolves that night, though it wasn’t enough.
Outside of LaVine the Wolves did an okay job of limiting the supporting cast. The Bulls only made 9-of-26 3-pointers, which is normally a big portion of their game. Robin Lopez scored 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting, but it looks like the Bulls are going to sit him the rest of the season as they are committed to a youth movement.
It’s not always the case that teams going all-in on youth get worse, and the Bulls do have a nice young core of players thanks to the Wolves.
In fact, this time around the Wolves will get a full look on the future they traded away with Kris Dunn set to play along side LaVine and Lauri Markkanen. Dunn missed the last meeting between these teams and, like LaVine, will be on a mission to prove the Wolves wrong.
In addition to Lopez seeing limited (if any) time down the stretch, the Bulls are also easing up on Justin Holiday’s minutes in favor of David Nwaba. Young teams can be dangerous as they’re out to prove their value, but mistakes will happen. It will be up to the Wolves to keep focused and capitalize on their youth despite all the current distractions.
LaVine was the only real unstoppable player for the Bulls. He’ll be on another revenge game, this time in from of his beloved Wolves’ fans who haven’t forgotten him. He’ll certainly want to put on a show in his old stomping grounds.
Andrew Wiggins seemed to have a better time containing LaVine than when Butler was guarding him, and given Butler’s status Wiggins will likely be the one Thibs turns to.
Not only will Wiggins need to step up defensively, he suddenly gets thrust back into the spotlight of the offense after taking a major back seat this season. Towns will take some of the load, as will Teague, but Wiggins is the main perimeter option and will slide into many of the sets Thibs draw up for Jimmy.
The news of Butler stings but Wiggins can help ease the pain with a statement game tonight.
Jeff Teague – PG
Andrew Wiggins – SG
Nemanja Bjelica – SF
Taj Gibson – PF
Karl-Anthony Towns – C
Kris Dunn – PG
Zach LaVine – SG
Davis Nwaba – SF
Lauri Markkanen – PF
Cristiano Felicio – C
Jimmy Butler (knee) – OUT
Justin Holiday (rest) – QUESTIONABLE
Robin Lopez (rest) – QUESTIONABLE
Paul Zipser (foot) – QUESTIONABLE
Where: Target Center, Minneapolis, MN
When: 9:00 ET/8:00 CT
How: Fox Sports North
August 20, 2019, 10:33 pmTyronn LuePG, Los Angeles Clippers
Shams Charania of The Athletic is reporting former Cavs championship-winning coach Tyronn Lue has agreed to join the Clippers as their top assistant coach to Doc Rivers.
The Lakers and Clippers rivalry continues to heat up. Lue was very close to a deal with the Lakers in May to become their head coach, but the sides couldn’t reach an agreement. Lue now joins Kawhi Leonard as another person to spurn the Lakers this offseason.
Source: Shams Charania on Twitter
August 20, 2019, 10:28 pmPJ TuckerSF, Houston Rockets
P.J. Tucker says he is optimistic about signing a contract extension soon.
The 34-year-old 3-and-D wing hopes to extend his deal with the Rockets, but a potential extension wouldn't begin until his age-36 season. Houston has him under contract for two more seasons at this point, so they may not be motivated enough to get something done this offseason. However, a maximum Tucker extension would only have him in the $10 million per year range. Even as a 37-year-old, that could be a great deal if he can keep up his current production. Tucker remains a sneaky source of threes and steals late in fantasy drafts or off the wire.
Source: Kurt Helin on Twitter
August 20, 2019, 6:11 pmJaylen AdamsPG, Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks officially announced the signings of guards Jaylen Adams and Rayjon Tucker on Tuesday.
Adams and Tucker have their work cut out for them in their bid to claim a roster with the big club, as the Bucks have a reasonably deep guard rotation. Adams and Tucker are more than likely competing to get playing time in the G-League this season and can be ignored in fantasy.
August 20, 2019, 4:55 pmJeff LedbetterG, San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs have offered summer league guard Jeff Ledbetter an Exhibit 10 deal, but he is still mulling over his options which include playing in Europe.
Ledbetter had a productive summer league and now finds himself with a chance to play for the Austin Spurs of the G-League. Ledbetter is sure to be staring at a bigger payday in Europe, so his choice will be an interesting one. We should have a decision soon.
Source: Nicola Lupo on Twitter
August 20, 2019, 4:49 pmEric MikaC, Sacramento Kings
The Kings announced on Tuesday that they signed summer league standout C Eric Mika to an exhibit 10 contract.
The former BYU big man is now set up to play for the Stockton Kings of the G-League. The Kings have a deep big man rotation, and it's unlikely that we'll see much, if any, of Mika on the roster this season.
Source: Sean Cunningham on Twitter
August 20, 2019, 4:44 pmJA MorantPG, Memphis Grizzlies
Ja Morant (right knee) said that he is completely healed from the minor knee surgery earlier this summer, saying he is "100 percent right now."
Morant will look to get back into the swing of things in the coming weeks as he prepares for his rookie season. Morant has the talent and the role on rebuilding team and is undoubtedly going to cost a pretty penny in fantasy drafts.
Source: Peter Edmiston on Twitter
August 20, 2019, 2:17 pmDerrick AlstonTeam, New York Knicks
The Westchester Knicks have named Derrick Alston as the new head coach, replacing Mike Miller who was promoted to join David Fizdale’s staff.
Alston, a former NBA player, has been an assistant for Westchester for four years. Before that, Alston was a player development coach with the Rockets. This will be Alston’s first head coaching gig as he continues to move up the ladder.
Source: Ian Begley on Twitter
August 20, 2019, 1:21 pmCory JosephPG, Sacramento Kings
Cory Joseph is not expected to play for Team Canada in the FIBA World Cup.
Team Canada has been taking a beating the last few weeks with NBA guys continuing to pull out. This news won't have any effects on Joseph's role heading into the season, but it does create another dent in Team Canada's chances of making noise in the World Cup.
Source: Doug Smith: Raptors on Twitter
August 20, 2019, 1:08 pmMarcus Georges-HuntSG, Free Agent
Jay King of The Athletic is hearing that Marcus Georges-Hunt is in Boston working out with the Celtics for the next few days.
Georges-Hunt last played in the NBA for the Wolves in the 2017-18 season. Last season Georges-Hunt was waived from the Celtics in mid-October and played nine games for the Red Claws. Georges-Hunt is a longshot to make the team and carries no fantasy relevance regardless of the outcome.
Source: Jay King on Twitter
August 20, 2019, 11:55 amDwight HowardC, Memphis Grizzlies
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN is reporting that the Lakers are planning individual workouts to evaluate centers Joakim Noah, Dwight Howard and Mo Speights this week in Los Angeles.
Marcin Gortat is also in the Lakers’ radar as the team is actively looking to sign another big after DeMarcus Cousins tore his ACL last week. Speights spent the last season in China after 10 years in the NBA while Gortat remains overseas and it’s unclear whether he will be back to Los Angeles for a workout with the team.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter