Wolves: 5 takeaways from the preseason so far


I’ve spent the weekend digesting the most recent happenings in Wolves basketball. Two games into preseason and there’s a lot to consider—some good, and some bad stuff, too.

I’m seeing things happen on the court that just seem so foreign to the typical Timberwolves experience. When Wiggins converted that alley-oop from Rubio against the 76ers on Friday night, I had to ask myself: am I in the Matrix? And when Anthony Bennett grabbed the offensive rebound away from 346 Indiana Pacers players and stuffed the rim like he was Big Daddy Canada of something, I was all like:

I’m not completely lost in the excitement, though. The first game against Indiana was, for the most part, an absolute circus. I don’t know if it was the full moon paired with the lunar eclipse, but Tuesday night was as frantic a basketball game as I’ve seen, maybe ever. Wiggins’ debut was so encouraging, however, that it’s easy to forget how terrible the Wolves played otherwise.

So I guess I’m cautiously optimistic. Before Teddy Bridgewater and the Vikings got pummeled by the Lions yesterday I would have said something about being over the moon with enthusiasm but Sunday against Detroit happened so now I’m in a slightly more tempered state—probably for the better.

Here are my takeaways from the Wolves so far…

Andrew Wiggins is already good at a professional basketball.

Yeah, he’s good. I’ve seen him play probably 50 times and I’ve been a believer for a while, but still it’s nice to see the guy perform on the pro level—even if it was against the artists formerly known as the Indiana Pacers and the 76ers who could probably win the D-League title this season.

It’s hard to describe, but he exudes the confidence of seasoned veteran and I just know in my gut that good things will happen when he’s on the floor. He’s the real deal.

Zach LaVine is terrible. No, wait, he’s friggin’ awesome! F Yeah!!! Go LaVine!

Timberwolves fans are the best.

During “Dunks After Dark” the forums were blowing up with LaVine praise. He had the silkiest jumper around and if Rubio didn’t watch his butt LaVine was going to take his damn job. Then the Pacers happened and LaVine was being sold like NBA 2k on release day. I may have joined in on “the sky is falling” hysteria and hastily compared him to the legend that is Alexey Shved.

But no matter because Friday against Philly went down and LaVine was pretty friggin’ awesome at basketball again. I think it’s safe to say that his stock is at an all-time high…

Anthony Bennett surprised the hell out of me.

Hello, Anthony Bennett…I know he did chameleon training, had Lasik surgery, and removed both his tonsils and adenoids but I honestly didn’t think any of it would make a difference. I mean, Alexey Shved had his teeth whitened after his rookie season and that didn’t amount to squat.

Whatever. Bennett looked like a beast on Friday night. He showed a soft touch on his jumper and a mean streak on the inside that reminds me think of the Tasmanian Devil. I’m not jumping to any conclusions, but I can’t wait to see if he can back it up on Friday against the Bucks.

Oh, Shabazz: Shine on you crazy diamond

I am a Shabazz Muhammad fan and I desperately want to see him succeed, but he struggled in his only game against the Pacers on Tuesday.

It’s tough because he plays his tail off out there. At this point, I’m slightly concerned because he put in all the work this off-season to transform his body and become more athletic and still he got rejected by the rim and by the opposing Pacer players. I’m not writing him off (I could never do that to ‘Bazzy), but he’ll need to show more in the upcoming preseason games if he wants to crack the rotation come opening night.

If only we knew the password…

After seeing more of the veterans on Friday night, I’m starting to convince myself that there’s a magic code, and that Flip can crack it if he finds the perfect player rotation for the upcoming season.

I don’t know if there’s a formula or an equation or if it’s a goddamn riddle that needs to be solved, but if Flip can figure it out we might actually be good this year. I can feel intuitively that this magic code is a fussy little bugger and it will need to be approached with an Ocean’s Eleven kind of precision in order to open it. But if everything goes off according to plan then unknown treasure awaits us all.

Here’s to not fracking it up.