In day one without Jimmy Butler, there was certainly some concern about how the Wolves would fare. They lost just before the break to this Chicago Bulls squad, they played last night on the road and had plane troubles that delayed their arrival this morning, and of course they lost their main man Butler.

    Naturally the Wolves won comfortably 122-104.

    They busted out of the gate with a 31-point first quarter, leading to a seven-point lead. Andrew Wiggins came out strong with 10 points in the first quarter and Jeff Teague chipped in across the board with five rebounds, three assists, two 3-pointers and one block.

    The second quarter was dreadful as the defense collapsed, allowing the Bulls to score 38 points.

    From there the defense tightened up, holding Chicago to just 42 second half points on 41 percent shooting. The Wolves used a 21-3 run that spanned the end of the third and fourth quarter to jump out to a 17-point lead. The Wolves got the lead up to as high as 22 points before winning by 18.

    Wiggins finished with 23 points, two rebounds, two assists, one steal, one block and two 3-pointers on 10-of-18 shooting overall.

    There’s not likely one guy who’s going to consistently see a big boost with the absence of Butler, it’s usually going to be a collective effort picking up the slack. Tonight it was Teague, who finished with 25 points, adding seven assists, seven rebounds, two steals, one block and three 3-pointers on 8-of-17 shooting from the floor.

    Towns had a solid game as well, shaking off a really slow start to finish with 22 points, 13 rebounds, two assists and one block. He shot 9-of-20 from the floor, 0-of-5 from 3-point range and 4-of-6 from the line. Towns made 37 free throws in a row before missing his final two of the game.

    Taj Gibson scored 19 points with 10 rebounds, three assists and one steal on 7-of-11 shooting.

    The Wolves’ offense was able to sustain course even with Butler out, and the defense, surprisingly, had a strong game. Outside of the aforementioned poor second quarter, the Wolves did a fine job holding down the two former T’Wolves.

    Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine shot 10-of-20 combined in the first half. After halftime the Wolves held them to 1-of-9 shooting.

    The Wolves shot 48.9 percent from the field, 31.4 percent from beyond the arc and 73.1 percent from the line. Minnesota took a season-high 35 3-pointers. Teague and Jamal Crawford took 16 between the two, making eight of them.

    The Wolves typically outscore their opponents at the free throw line, making the most per-game in the NBA and taking the second most. Butler takes the most freebies on the team, by far, but the Wolves still took more free throws than the Bulls tonight (26-to-20) and were above their season average in attempts.

    Outside of the second quarter this was a productive game for the Wolves, given the circumstances. The Bulls are a bad team, but it was at least nice to see the Wolves more or less land on their feet after the Butler news.

    Every win down the stretch matters, and for the time-being the Wolves jumped the Spurs and currently sit third in the Western Conference standings. They’ll travel west for a three-game road trip that kicks off in Sacramento and look to hold their third spot on Monday.

Fantasy News

  • Trevon Bluiett
    PF, Utah Jazz

    Trevon Bluiett and Juwan Morgan sign with the Jazz in the hopes of one day playing in an NBA game.

    Bluiett was on a two-way contract with the Pelicans last season while Juwan Morgan played for the Jazz in the 2019 Summer League. They will both compete for a roster spot in training camp but neither is a guarantee to make the final roster. They both have yet to see the court in an NBA game and can be ignored from a fantasy perspective until that day comes.

    Source: Tony Jones on Twitter

  • Zach Collins
    C, Portland Trail Blazers

    Zach Collins (ankle) began daily contact workouts on Monday and is on pace to head into training camp fully healthy.

    Collins is heading into what could be a breakout season as he is likely to start at the power forward position. In the 2019 playoffs, the Gonzaga product blocked a shot in 11 of the 16 games including three games in which he blocked three, four and five respectively. Collins has averaged around 33% from distance throughout his career which is exactly what he shot in the postseason (7-21). If he is able to improve from long range and plays starters minutes, Collins is a can't-miss player. It's far from a guarantee though as the 21-year-old has never finished with standard-league value. It does seem like Collins will be ready for training camp barring a major setback.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Cory Joseph
    PG, Sacramento Kings

    Nick Nurse said that reports of Cory Joseph missing the FIBA World Cup are “incorrect”.

    Nurse added that he spoke to Joseph on Wednesday and that the guard has his flights booked to China. Joseph was in Canada’s camp at home earlier this month, but did not make the trip to Australia and has missed the past four exhibition games. The situation has become a little bit murky but Canada Basketball keeps holding out hope that Joseph will rejoin the team before they depart for China, which doesn’t happen until Monday.

    Source: John Casey on Twitter

  • Tyronn Lue
    PG, 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

  • PJ Tucker
    SF, 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

  • Jaylen Adams
    PG, 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.

    Source: NBA

  • Jeff Ledbetter
    G, 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

  • Eric Mika
    C, 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

  • JA Morant
    PG, 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

  • Derrick Alston
    Team, 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