Preview: Golden State Warriors (4-4) vs Minnesota Timberwolves (5-3)


Warriors fans didn’t exactly rejoice last season when fan-favorite Monta Ellis was traded to Milwaukee for injured-at-the-time, (as he is now, and generally often is) Andrew Bogut. Trading an electrifying


scorer like Ellis won’t endear any front office to their fans, but the Warriors fans are like Wolves fans: desperate for positivity after years of being beaten down by hopeless spectacle. So, naturally, irrational confidence in their potential lineup this year was kindled.

Warriors probable starting lineup:

PG Stephen Curry

SG Clay Thompson

SF Harrison Barnes

PF David Lee

C Festus Ezell

Supposed cornerstones, Curry and Thompson, are shooting 37% and 36% (respectively) from the field this year. Rookie Barnes has had one game with more than 5 rebounds so far — he had 13 against Atlanta Wednesday night — and offers less inspiring peripheral stats. David Lee put up big numbers with the Knicks (big enough for Wolves GM David Kahn to consider floating him an offer), parlayed them into a nice fat contract with Golden State,  and defensively he’s eaten alive regularly enough to be considered Kevin Love-lite. 3rd string center, Andris Biedrins is making 9 million dollars this year and made two free throws last Saturday — his first since the one he made last year, on January 31st.

Seriously dodged a bullet, Wolves fans.

I would be remiss to say the Warriors are coached by one of the single most obnoxious former commentators, with some of the most obnoxious catch phrases (“Mama there goes that man!”) who repeatedly deemed himself worthy of a head coaching position, once upon a time gaining consideration with the Wolves, although he’s never coached at any level prior to this, his first job (ladies and gentlemen,) Mark Jackson.

Wolves probable starting lineup:

PG Luke Ridnour

SG Malcolm Lee

SF Andrei Kirilenko

PF Derrick Williams

C Greg Stiemsma

JJ Barea, Brandon Roy and Nikola Pekovic are listed as doubtful for tonight’s game. With four days off after this one, the conservative move would be to let them sit out and get as much rest as possible while the season is still young. Although, after releasing general good-guy and third string point guard, Will Conroy, it could be possible Barea will give it a go.

The player the Wolves picked up in Conroy’s stead, Josh Howard, was announced as “Former All-Star” Josh Howard, but let’s not get carried away. “Wolves Sign Warm Body Josh Howard” would have been just as accurate (unless he’s added 5-7% on his career 3-point percentage — then, by all means). The guy had his knee scoped in March. Good luck, Josh.

If the Wolves draft demons Randy Foye and Ndudi Ebi are being exorcised this year with the arrivals of Roy and Howard, it is only appropriate that Curry join the pity party and torch Ridnour in Jonny Flynn’s smiling effigy.

Like Barnes, Thompson has some paltry peripheral stats besides his jump shooting. AK (Roy or JJ, if they go) or Lee will have the opportunity to win (in AK’s case, dominate) their match-ups should neither Warrior get hot from downtown.

Williams has a chance tonight against a very finesse player in Lee, to finally put up some offensive numbers. It shall not be a major disappointment if he doesn’t — expectations have been significantly lowered after the last three games.

Without Bogut, the Warriors frontline is, to put it mildly, not very imposing. If Pek doesn’t give it a go, both will likely go small for much of the game. If Pek does suit up, the ability of the Wolves to withstand whatever potential 3-point barrage the Warriors can throw at them increases, tenfold.