Timberpups Weekly Preview – Week 7


Zach LaVine had a breakout game on Nov. 29, in his first trip to LA as a Wolf. (Danny Moloshok, AP Photo)

Zach LaVine had a breakout game on Nov. 29, in his first trip to LA as a Wolf. (Danny Moloshok, AP Photo)

Setting the Stage:

Week 6 was not very kind to our beloved pups. An 0-4 record dropped Minnesota to 4-15 overall, which puts them in last place in the loaded West. Among the week 6 defeats were a loss to the previously winless Sixers and an overtime loss to Houston.  The good news? Minnesota is only one win behind both Utah (5-15) and Los Angeles (5-16). Here’s a preview of this weeks games – where the Wolves have a shot to climb out of the cellar with a few wins.

Injury Report:

Ricky Rubio: Sprained Ankle – Out until January

Kevin Martin: Broken Wrist – Out indefinitely

Nikola Pekovic: Wrist and Ankle soreness – Out at least another week

Ronny Turiaf: Hip – Out at least another week

Mo Williams: Back Spasms – Missed last two games, should be back soon

Shabazz Muhammad: Sore Ankle – Questionable for tonight

Game 20: Monday, 12/8, 7pm – Golden State Warriors @ Timberpups (TV: FS North)

Monday marks Minnesota’s first meeting this season with the Western Conference leading Warriors (17-2). The Warriors will enter Target Center riding an impressive 12 game winning streak. Lead by rookie coach Steve Kerr, the Warriors are sustained their offensive excellence with surprisingly efficient defense, as their defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) of 98.1 is best in the league.

What to Watch:

Klay Thompson: The son of former Golden Gopher Mychal Thompson, Klay was reportedly offered by Golden State to Minnesota in exchange for Kevin Love this summer. The trade never came to fruition, but Wolves fans won’t forget Mychal Thompson telling ESPN Radio in June that if Klay was traded, he would have to, “talk him down off the ledge.”

For Klay, this will be his first meeting with Minnesota since the talks surfaced. In his fourth season, Klay is averaging career highs in both points (21.2) and 3-point shooting (44.8%). Stopping Thompson will be crucial if the pups want to pull off the massive upset.

Game 21: Wednesday, 12/10, 7pm – Timberpups @ Portland Trail Blazers (TV: FS North)

With a record of 16-4, Portland leads the Northwest Division and is currently in a tie with Houston for second in the West. In their first meeting with the pups on Nov. 30, Portland defeated Minnesota 107-93 behind point totals of 26 and 23 for LaMarcus Aldridge and Wesley Matthews, respectively.

What to Watch:

Wesley Matthews: In 20 career games against Minnesota, Matthews has averaged 17.7 points per game on 44.3% shooting from 3. The only team he averages more points against is Utah (18.7). With the Wolves inability to defend anything beyond the arc this season, another big game from Matthews should be expected.

Game 22: Friday, 12/12, 7pm – Timberpups @ Oklahoma City Thunder (TV: FS North)

The rejuvenated Thunder (7-13) will play Minnesota for the first time this season on Friday. Oklahoma City recently welcomed Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant back from injuries, and have gone 2-1 since Durant’s return. In their abscence, several players, including Reggie Jackson, were forced to expand their role. Jackson is averaging career highs in minutes (36.8) points (17.9), assists (6.8) and rebounds (4.9).

What to Watch:

Russell Westbrook: Westbrook will provide a major challenge to whoever defends him, including Zach LaVine, who many have projected to develop into a similar player as Westbrook. Westbrook has only played six games since returning from injuring, but is on a tear, combining career highs in points (23.7) and 3-point percentage (41.2%). His athleticism, power, and fiery personality combine to make him one heck of a player, and a spectacular dunker.


Game 23: Sunday, 12/14, 6pm – Los Angeles Lakers @ Timberpups (TV: FS North)

Minnesota’s last game of the week also appears to be the easiest. A rematch with the Lakers, who Minnesota defeated 120-119 on Nov. 29, might be just what the Wolves need. In their first matchup, LaVine went off for 28 points, and a Thaddeus Young free throw in the final seconds put the Lakers away.

What to Watch:

Kobe Bryant: Bryant currently sits fourth on the all-time points list, just 62 behind Michael Jordan. With just two games remaining (Kings, Spurs) for the Lakers before facing Minnesota, it’s conceivable, if not likely, that Bryant could pass Jordan on Sunday. Whether or not he’s within range of the record on Sunday, you can expect Kobe to be up for the game. He’ll be looking for revenge on Minnesota after missing a game-winning three at the buzzer the last time these two teams met.


In what is hopefully the last week the Wolves are without Pekovic, Minnesota faces a murderer’s row of elite Western conference teams, plus the struggling Lakers. Anything more than one win this week might be asking too much of the shorthanded Wolves, but it’s within the realm of possibility that they can pull off an upset or two.


Timberpups Weekly Preview – Week 6

Flip's the man in charge!  (Photo credit: Star Tribune)

Flip’s the man in charge! (Photo credit: Star Tribune)


Setting the stage:

The 4-10 Timberwolves (pending Sunday night’s result in Portland) head into a busy week of action in week 6 – wrapping up a trip to the West Coast in Los Angeles before returning home for two games and heading back on the road to close out the week.  After defeating the Lakers in Los Angeles on Friday night, the team traveled to Portland for a game on Sunday, only to have to return to Los Angeles for Monday’s game against the Clippers.  Here is a brief preview for each game this week:

Game 16: Monday, 12/1, 9:30pm – Timberpups @ Los Angeles Clippers (TV: FS North)

A back-to-back traveling up and down the coastline with another opponent that is playing really well to start the season.  The Clippers remain a tremendously talented, regular season team that must do more in the playoffs to earn respect around the league.  Chris Paul and Blake Griffin continue to put up big numbers on a nightly basis.

Opponent to watch:

DeAndre Jordan – Assuming Nikola Pekovic doesn’t return for this game, Jordan will likely be a headache for the Wolves.  While Gorgui Dieng provides respectable defense, a lot of his strength is in help defense and not so much in a one-to-one set – yet, at least.  That should come as Dieng continues to become more familiar with the pro game.

Game 17: Wednesday, 12/3, 7pm – Philadelphia 76ers @ Timberpups (TV: FS North Plus)

The Sixers open the week at 0-16 and will likely be 0-17 when they come to Minneapolis, given that they face the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night.  The Wolves need to win games like this one for morale and to keep the home fanbase at bay.

Opponent to watch:

Tony Wroten – Wroten leads the Sixers in points, assists and steals per game.  Paging Andrew Wiggins.  Wiggins continues to guard the strongest wing opponent night in and night out and it shouldn’t change when Philly comes to town.

Game 18: Friday, 12/5, 7pm – Houston Rockets @ Timberpups (TV: FS North)

Take a second to go look at divisional standings and how far ahead the Southwest division is vs. all others.  Friday’s game against the Rockets starts a five game stretch of very hard match-ups for the Wolves.  Kevin McHale’s Rockets enter the forthcoming week at 13-4 and have a huge match-up against the Grizzlies on Wednesday night.

Selfishly, please allow me to use this space as another plea to leverage a game against Kevin McHale to break out the original blue uniforms from the Timberwolves early years.

Wolves original blue uniforms picked up at the Target Center during my trip to Minnesota (This is Kevin Love's jersey, not Sam Mitchell, not Donyell Marshall)

Wolves original blue uniforms picked up at the Target Center during my trip to Minnesota
(This is Kevin Love’s jersey, not Sam Mitchell, not Donyell Marshall)

Opponent to watch:

James Harden – Paging Mr. Wiggins again!  Harden is having another phenomenal season with a PER just under 24.

Game 19: Saturday, 12/6, 7:30pm – Timberpups @ San Antonio Spurs (TV: FS North)

The second of a back-to-back against the defending champs.  Why not just have this game in Mexico City?  The Spurs blew out the Wolves in Minnesota earlier this season (121-92), largely due to …

Opponent to watch:

Tony Parker – Parker led the Spurs in Minnesota with 28 points on 12-18 shooting.  Mo Williams struggled to contain the Spurs PG as he ran as an efficient of an offense as you will find in the NBA.


Week 6 is a very tough week for the Timberwolves, who need to protect the Target Center floor against the Sixers.  The Pups can’t be the first team the Sixers defeat this season.

Let’s go Wolves!

Timberpups Weekly Preview – Week 5

(Jesse Johnson/Reuters)

(Jesse Johnson/Reuters)

Setting the Stage:

Last Wednesday saw Minnesota put an end to a five game losing streak with a win over the struggling Knicks. The win was their first without Rubio, and was highlighted by Kevin Martin’s 37 points on 8 made threes. Also: Shabazz Muhammad took flight.

But even when the Wolves win, they seem to lose. It turns out that in the first quarter against the Knicks, Kevin Martin broke his wrist when he was fouled attempting a three. Incredibly, Martin managed to score 37 points with the injury, because the Knicks are bad at defense. Martin is sidelined indefinitely.

Martin is the latest starter to be sidelined. With Ricky Rubio and Nikola Pekovic also out with injuries, and Thad Young mourning the loss of his mother, the Wolves had to finish off the week with just one player left from the opening day starting lineup – Andrew Wiggins.

Wiggins and the rest of the Wolves did their best to compete with the Spurs and Kings over the weekend, but they stood little chance against two teams competing for playoff spots in the loaded Western Conference.

The Wolves are currently 3-9, good for 13th place in the West, but the news isn’t all bad. The schedule for week 5 isn’t particularly grueling, and the team welcomes back Thad Young, who practiced Monday and is expected to start for the Wolves on Wednesday.

Game 13: Wednesday, 11/26, 7pm – Milwaukee Bucks @ Timberpups (TV: FS North Plus)

If the Kings are the surprise team in the West, then the Bucks are the surprise team in the wide-open East. With a record of 7-7, Jason Kidd seems to have the Bucks headed in the right direction. The Bucks are being led by Brandon Knight. Yes, the same Brandon Knight who was destroyed by Deandre Jordan, and crushed on a screen from Pekovic is leading the Bucks in both scoring (18.1) and assists (6.4).

What to Watch:

Jabari Parker vs. Andrew Wiggins: The top two picks in the 2014 NBA Draft will face off against each other in the regular season for the first time. No, they won’t be matched up on each other, but this is the first chance to watch them on the court together. This game will determine who is the better player*

*No it won’t, it’s just one game. Chill out.

The Greek Freak: He’s only in his second season, but point-forward/Elastic Man Giannis Antetokounmpo is already one of the most electrifying players in the league. Not only is he a freak on the court, he’s also been surprisingly efficient this season, posting a PER of 17.9 and shooting 52.5% from the field. Oh yeah, and he’s also grown from his 6’9″ height on draft day to 6’11” this season. He also loves smoothies.

Game 14: 11/28 9:30pm Timberpups @ Los Angeles Kobes (TV: FS North)

(Courtesy NY Post)

(Courtesy NY Post)

Yes, not even Jack Nicholson, star of the film “The Shining,” can take the horror of the 2014-2015 Lakers. Because sometimes contested Kobe Bryant 20 footers just aren’t enough to keep you awake.

The Lakers do excel at one thing: terrible defense. Los Angeles isn’t just bad at defense, they are historically awful. Their 117.2 defensive rating is worst in the league, and on pace to be the worst rating in league history. At Grantland, Zach Lowe did a fantastic job breaking down what makes the 2014-2015 Lakers so weird.

What to Watch:

Kobe Shot Count: One thing you can count on Friday is that Kobe will shoot the ball. A lot. Kobe is averaging 24 attempts per game, but is shooting an atrocious 38%. Kobe has seemingly stopped caring about his teammates, solely focusing on personal accolades, like passing Michael Jordan for career points.

The question for Friday is who guards Kobe? Whether it’s Brewer or Wiggins, the matchup should be a fascinating one.


For the first time in what feels like forever, the Wolves have a chance to sweep their weeks slate of games. Neither Milwaukee or Los Angeles are quite the formidable foes that Sacramento and San Antonio were last week. And with the return of Thad Young, the Wolves will have a rejuvenated front line to go along with the phenom that Andrew Wiggins has looked recently.


Timberpups Weekly Preview – Week 4

Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine look to bring the Target Center to their feet this week (Credit: NBA YouTube)

Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine look to bring the Target Center to their feet this week (Credit: NBA YouTube)


Setting the stage:

After competitive games through the first two weeks of the season, the loss of Ricky Rubio has proven to be a catastrophic loss for our Timberpups.  The Wolves have lost five in a row, having last seen victory on Wednesday, 11/5 in Brooklyn.  This past week was particularly rough for the Wolves, losing in Mexico City to the Rockets, getting shellacked in New Orleans, and falling in Dallas to close out the week.

The Pups are getting virtually nothing from their veterans right now.  Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Martin are struggling on both ends of the floor.  Mo Williams remains an important cog off the bench but is not stepping up when replacing Zach LaVine on the floor.  Flip Saunders is/was relying on these veterans to not only perform on the court but to keep things in order in the clubhouse.  This season is going to be a learning process and keeping the locker room together is going to be a challenge for Flip and his staff.

On the docket for this week are three home games (among a four game homestand).  For some reason the schedule calls for another break in the action as the Wolves won’t start this week until Wednesday.  Here is a brief preview for each game this week:

Game 10: Wednesday, 11/19, 7pm – New York Knicks @ Timberpups (TV: FS North)

The Knicks are, once again, an abomination of a team and franchise.  At least they are on the hook for the rest of Carmelo Anthony’s prime, right?  I’m not sure if that is a good thing either.  If it weren’t for the 76ers, the Knicks would be the worst team in the NBA.  As an added bonus, there doesn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel, whereas you could say there is for the rebuilding 76ers and our own Pups.

Opponent to watch:

Carmelo Anthony – Anthony leads the team in scoring (of course) and in assists (what?!).  ‘Melo resigned with New York for the league maximum and remains unsuccessful in making anyone around him better – despite those 3.7 assists per game.

Game 11: Friday, 11/21, 7pm – San Antonio Spurs @ Timberpups (TV: FS North)

The NBA champs have come out of the gate somewhat slowly and are playing in the league’s strongest division.  Cause for concern?  Of course not.  Popovich is monitoring minutes among his veteran squad and knows exactly what he is doing.  I learned about five years ago, stop discounting and giving up on the Spurs … they will always prevail.

Opponent to watch:

Tony Parker – After watching LaVine get torched by J’rue Holiday on Friday night, this is going to be another tough matchup for the Pups rookie.  Parker leads the Spurs in scoring and assists and will use his wily veteran skills to teach a few lessons to the rookie.

Game 12: Saturday, 11/22, 7pm – Sacramento Kings @ Timberpups (TV: FS North)

Perhaps the surprise team of the first month of the NBA season, the Kings are 6-4 and getting an A+ effort from DeMarcus Cousins, who leads the team in rebounding, assists, steals, and blocks.  He is also putting up 22.1ppg, second behind …

Opponent to watch:

Rudy Gay – No one can question Gay’s ability to score throughout his career.  This will be a tough matchup for Andrew Wiggins and a nice barometer for how his defensive ability has adjusted to the NBA over the first month of his career.


The Pups need to return home and grab the “W” over the Knicks to start off this homestand and give the Target Center a reason to cheer.  From there, this week looks challenging.  Hopefully, Thad Young is able to return to the club after his mother’s passing and will give the club a boost.

Let’s go Wolves!

LaVine Time: Weekly Preview #3

(Star Tribune)

Last week wasn’t too kind to our beloved pups. After pulling out a gutty win over Brooklyn on Wednesday, the Wolves were swept in their first set of road back-to-back games of the season. This was in large part due to the absence of Ricky Rubio, who sprained his ankle in the first half of Friday’s game against Orlando. Rubio is out indefinitely, and the Wolves and it’s no secret the Wolves will struggle without him.

That doesn’t mean they won’t be competitive, however. The Wolves found themselves with the lead in the final minute in Orlando before losing in overtime, and nearly completed a 20 point comeback on Saturday before falling to Miami. Their record now stands at 2-4.

Unfortunately, this weeks schedule doesn’t look to be very forgiving. Starting Wednesday, the Wolves will embark on a three game gauntlet. A record this week of 1-2 sans Rubio might even be considered a minor victory.

Game 7: Wednesday, 11/12, 9:00pm – Houston Rockets @ Pups* (TV: ESPN) *In Mexico City

Game #7 sees the Wolves with a home game in Mexico City for the second time in as many years. With the game on ESPN, I’m sure the league would love to see this years’ game in the Mexican capital actually take place.

For the second straight year, Minnesota is scheduled to be the home team. Apparently, the fact that Texas borders Mexico and Minnesota borders Canada doesn’t matter much.

The Rockets have stood out as one of the top teams in the league so far, with a record of 6-1. Their roster isn’t much different from a year ago, save for the addition of Trevor Ariza and the subtractions of Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik.

What to Watch for:

James Harden and Dwight Howard are averaging a combined 45.1 ppg, so slowing them down will be key if the Wolves want to hang with Houston.

As for the point guard matchup, if Zach LaVine starts, he will be matched up against defensive specialist Patrick Beverley.

As a team, Houston is averaging 39.6% shooting on 32.9 3-point attempts per game, compared to Minnesota’s 34.1% on 14.2 attempts. The contrasting styles should be evident on Wednesday night.

Game #8: Friday 11/14, 7:00pm – Pups @ New Orleans Pelicans (TV: FS North)

After leaving Mexico City, the Wolves head to the Big Easy in a matchup against New Orleans. Minnesota went 2-1 in against New Orleans last season.

New Orleans has started the season 3-2 after an injury plagued 2013-2014 campaign fell short of expectations. Their main pickup was center Omer Asik, while they lost Al Farouq-Aminu to Dallas.

What to Watch for:

Anthony Davis and Omer Asik vs. Thad/Pek/Gorgui. Anthony Davis has started the 14-15 on an absolute tear, averaging 24/13/2 and 4 blocks. The addition of Asik makes New Orleans the most feared defensive front court in the league. For Flip, this might be the time to tryout the Pek/Gorgui lineup.

Game #9: Saturday 11/15, 7:30 – Pups @ Dallas Mavericks (TV: FS North)

Minnesota ends their third back-to-back of the year with a contest against the high-powered Mavs. Dallas should be well rested, as their only game between Wednesday and Saturday is a Thursday matchup with the lowly Sixers. The Wolves were 3-1 against Dallas in 13-14, with the only loss due to “D’OH ED MALLOY.”

What to Watch for:

In his 17th season, Dirk Nowitzki probably shouldn’t be averaging 21 points on 54% shooting. But he is, and the Wolves will have to find a way counter his height and shooting ability.

The Chandler Parsons vs. Andrew Wiggins matchup at the SF is one to keep your eyes on. Parsons excellent movement off-the-ball will be a major test for Wiggins.


The Wolves will be lucky to win even one of their three games this week. Fans should worry less about wins and losses and try and watch the development of the young guys, specifically Zach Lavine. LaVine faces matchups with Beverley, Jrue Holiday, and veteran Jameer Nelson. LaVine isn’t just having to place his in the fire, he’s being forced to swim in it.

Try and smile. Ricky wants you to.



Timberpups Weekly Preview – Week 2

Photo Credit: Star Tribune

Photo Credit: Star Tribune

Setting the stage:

The quest for an 82-0 season fell quickly in the season opener in Memphis this past week for the Timberwolves.  However, it feels like there are a good number of positives to build upon with the 1-2 club.  The Pups hit the road this week for a three game trip that will take them to Brooklyn and then through the state of Florida.

If nothing else, the Timberwolves have been very competitive in their first three games of the season.  They kept the game tight against the Grizzlies, pulled away from the Pistons for the home opener, and lost a heartbreaker against a Derrick Rose-less Bulls squad. The Wolves are averaging 101 points per game and are getting contributions from virtually everyone on the roster.

If the action on the floor wasn’t enough, the Wolves’ front office gave the fanbase another reason to celebrate, announcing that the club came to terms with Ricky Rubio on a four year contract extension worth $55 million.  Rubio is now locked up through the 2018/19 season and allows the team to start focusing on how it builds around Andrew Wiggins and the Spanish Point Guard.  Rubio celebrated his new contract with a 17 assist game on Saturday night against the Bulls.

Game 4: Wednesday, 11/5, 6:30pm – Pups @ Brooklyn Nets (TV: FS North)

The Nets open this week with a 1-1 record and will have their home opener on Monday night against a depleted OKC Thunder squad.  With three full days off, the Wolves should be fresh for Wednesday’s action.

Wolves fans will likely get to see ex-Timberwolf Andrei Kirilenko on the court, but there is “probably” someone a little more interesting to keep an eye on …

Opponent to watch:

Kevin Garnett – I probably wrote the same thing last year, but this is one of two chances to see KG suit up against his former club.  There is no acceptable reason to miss this game as a Wolves fan.

Game 5: Friday, 11/7, 6pm – Pups @ Orlando Magic (TV: FS North)

The Magic were dealt an early season blow when they announced that Victor Oladipo would miss the start of the season with a facial fracture.  The team is 0-3 entering the week ahead and is struggling to put points on the board.

Opponent to watch:

Nikola Vucevic – One player that isn’t struggling for the Magic is Vucevic, averaging 17.7 points and 15.7 rebounds per game, highlighted by an opening night 23 rebounds in New Orleans.

Game 6: Saturday, 11/8, 6:30pm – Pups @ Miami Heat (TV: FS North)

The Wolves will finish up their three game road trip in Miami.  Unfortunately for the Pups, they will be heading into this game as the second of a back-to-back, while the Heat will have been off since a Wednesday night game in Charlotte.  The Heat are 2-0 heading into a Sunday night game against the Raptors.

Opponent to watch:

Chris Bosh – Through two games, Bosh is averaging 26 points and 15 rebounds per game.  Perhaps exiting a little bit of a shadow, the Heat will be relying on Bosh to bring this type of production to the floor every night.



If the Pups can continue the competitive spirit they brought to the court in the first week of the season, the club will continue to slowly but surely gain attention around the league.  “Solid but not spectacular” might be the best way to describe the action thus far.

Items that I like thus far:

  1. Gorgui Dieng has been incredibly productive in a limited role
  2. Despite an even more limited role than Dieng, Anthony Bennett has played very well

Things that I don’t like right now:

  1. Zach LaVine’s minutes or lack thereof
  2. Chase Budinger is really struggling in his (very) limited role
  3. Seeing Thaddeus Young go down in Saturday’s game after several productive performances to start the season

Let’s go Wolves!  Who or what has caught your attention in the first week of the season?

Timberpups Weekly Preview – Week 1 of 2014/15

Flip's the man in charge!  (Photo credit: Star Tribune)

Flip’s the man in charge! (Photo credit: Star Tribune)

Setting the stage:

The Timberwolves are back and fans have their #EyesOnTheRise!  Welcome to the start of the 2014/15 NBA season and our weekly preview here at Timberpups.com.  While this is very likely to be a year of transition, there is a light at the end of the tunnel with Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine joining the club and being paired with Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pekovic, and Gorgui Dieng.  With other pieces remaining in the mix from last season, the Wolves have a decent balance of youth and veteran experience.  Who remains with the club throughout the season, past the trade deadline and into the next few years is a bit of question mark.  However, there is excitement in the air and that should be carried over to the crowds filling into the Target Center in the days and weeks ahead.

Below you will find a brief preview of each game on the schedule, along with who to watch for and a prediction on the outcome.  The quest for an 82-0 season begins soon and we’ll see how long the team can stay at that pace.

Game 1: Wednesday, 10/29, 7pm – Pups @ Memphis Grizzlies (TV: FS North)

Look at this – the Wolves don’t open another season against the Sacramento Kings!  The Grizzlies are coming off of its second 50+ wins season.  The Grizz took the OKC Thunder to a seventh game in the first round of the playoffs but failed to advance.

Memphis has added several interesting pieces to their roster this season, including Vince Carter and Earl Clark.  While the Wolves turned the corner and gave up on the failed and flawed ‘playoffs or bust’ philosophy, the Grizzlies continue to look for ways to advance in the postseason.

Opponent to watch:

Mike Conley – Conley is entering his eighth season in the NBA and with the Grizzlies.  Conley really beat up Rubio and the Wolves’ backup Point Guards last season, averaging 17.5ppg and 6.3rpg.


This is a tough start for the Wolves, playing on the road and against a veteran club that looks to make some noise in the Western Conference this season.  Final score: Grizzlies 95, Timberwolves 84

Game 2: Thursday, 10/30, 7pm – Detroit Pistons @ Pups (TV: FS North)

The Wolves’ home opener is against a team that has struggled to build an identity over the past handful of seasons and has thrown free agency money around with no sense of direction.  Enter Stan Van Gundy as the new coach and a new philosophy.

While there are players that can fill up the box score in the Pistons lineup, there doesn’t seem to be much chemistry with the club.  Josh Smith, Brandon Jennings, Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe are all interesting players for your NBA fantasy team, but they aren’t leading to many victories for the Pistons.

Monroe had an interesting offseason in which he was charged with a DUI and suspended two games, so he won’t be in uniform against the Wolves.  He also turned down a contract extension from the club and is playing on the one year, qualifying offer.

Opponent to watch:

Andre Drummond – Drummond enters his third season in the NBA and has shown signs of continued improvement in the preseason.  Andre averaged 13.5ppg and 13.2rpg last season, starting all 81 of the games he played in.  It will be a nice litmus test for both Nikola Pekovic and Gorgui Dieng to see how they match up with the Pistons big man.


With the absence of Monroe and a fired up Target Center, the Wolves have a good chance to pull off the victory.  The Pistons will also be flying into Minnesota off of a Wednesday night game, having to face the Nuggets in Denver less than 24 hours prior to tip-off of Thursday’s action.  Final score: Timberwolves 95, Pistons 91

Game 3: Saturday, 11/1, 7pm – Chicago Bulls @ Pups (TV: NBA TV & FSN Plus)

Assuming they can stay healthy – and that is a big assumption to make – the Chicago Bulls are one of a handful of legitimate contenders for the NBA Championship this season.  The team will be looking to fix what looked to be broken at the end of last year, after losing the Washington Wizards in the first round of the playoffs (without Derrick Rose).

Opponent to watch:

Pau Gasol – One of, if not the most underappreciated players in today’s game, Gasol left the Lakers to join the Bulls for a chance at another run at a ring.  Gasol will team with DPOY Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson to make for one of the more dominant frontline rotations in the NBA.


The Wolves will have a hard time keeping pace with the Bulls.  Final score: Bulls 113, Timberwolves 96


The Wolves face two very tough teams to open the season in the Grizzlies and Bulls.  I am hoping they are able to showcase their young talent in the home opener and get the fanbase excited early.  A win against the Pistons club would mean “a lot”.

Let’s go Wolves!