Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Philadelphia 76ers: Flirting with history


When the Minnesota Timberwolves and Philadelphia 76ers tip-off shortly after 7 p.m. Central Time tonight, the likes of Brook Lopez, Devin Harris, and Yi Jianlian may be keeping a watchful eye on what transpires. Those players, of course, were members of the 2009-2010 New Jersey Nets team, a squad that began their season with an all-time record 18 consecutive losses.

In what actually could be a fairly competitive game, the Wolves will be looking to give the Nets a partner for the 0-18 club. And who knows, maybe the 76ers will do their best tank job looking for membership in the rare club.

Minnesota is coming off of back-to-back blowout road losses – one to the Trail Blazers and then Monday night against the Clippers. The Sixers are coming off of a loss, of course, 109-103 on Monday versus the Spurs.

The past three defeats for the worst team in the league have come by just eight points, seven points, and six points, however, against the Nets, Mavericks and Spurs respectively. Regardless of the outcome, this contest should show us just how bad of a team the Wolves are without Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pekovic, and Kevin Martin. Are they really bad or are they really, really bad?


Minnesota Timberwolves (4-12)    

Nov 8, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Mo Williams (25) passes the ball as Miami Heat guard Norris Cole (30) defends the play during the second half at American Airlines Arena. The Heat won 102-92. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

PG – Mo Williams (6 GS, .394 FG%, .818 FT%, 1.9 REB, 6.7 AST, 0.7 STL, 0.3 BLK, 10.3 PTS this season)

SG – Corey Brewer (8 GS, .452 FG%, .655 FT%, 3.4 REB, 2.4 AST, 2.0 STL, 0.0 BLK, 10.8 PTS this season)

SF – Andrew Wiggins (16 GS, .399 FG%, .683 FT%, 3.6 REB, 1.1 AST, 1.1 STL, 0.4 BLK, 11.8 PTS this season)

PF – Thaddeus Young (11 GS, .446 FG%, .586 FT%, 4.5 REB, 1.8 AST, 1.5 STL, 0.5 BLK, 13.4 PTS this season)

C – Gorgui Dieng (8 GS, .505 FG%, .825 FT%, 7.3 REB, 1.9 AST, 1.0 STL, 1.3 BLK, 7.9 PTS this season)

Key Reserves           

Jeff Adrien (PF) – The newest Wolves acquisition made his team debut on Monday, playing a very effective 13 minutes of basketball. He filled up the stat sheet with seven points, six rebounds, and two assists, while adding two blocks and a steal. His plus/minus was even a bright spot, at plus-seven. Yes, most of his play was against the Clippers bench unit, but most of his matchups in this game will be like facing a bench unit once again.

Shabazz Muhammad (SG) – Shabazz has been as inconsistent as ever during the young season, scoring in double-figures in seven of the 16 games so far. He’s also had two games where he failed to make a field goal and two where he made just one. To be fair, his minutes have been scattered and have picked up significantly lately due to injuries on the team. He is coming off of a big game Monday, scoring 18 points and adding 10 rebounds for his first career double-double.

Zach LaVine (PG) – After exploding for 28 points in last week’s win over the Lakers, LaVine has had a tough couple of games since Sunday. He’s scored 10 points total over the last two games, posting a minus-25 and shooting a combined 4 of 14. With a very similar lanky body type to Michael Carter-Williams, it could be fun to see the two athletic freaks go at it if they wind up guarding each other.

Philadelphia 76ers (0-17)    

PG – Michael Carter-Williams (10 GS, .357 FG%, .691 FT%, 6.8 REB. 5.9 AST, 0.9 STL, 0.1 BLK, 15.6 PTS this season)

SG – Hollis Thompson (13 GS, .395 FG%, .609 FT%, 3.1 REB, 1.2 AST, 1.1 STL, 0.4 BLK, 7.9 PTS this season)

SF –  Luc Mbah a Moute (15 GS, .403 FG%, .524 FT%, 4.8 REB, 1.4 AST, 1.1 STL, 0.3 BLK, 8.0 PTS this season)

PF – Nerlens Noel (10 GS, .476 FG%, .406 FT%, 6.5 REB, 1.6 AST, 1.6 STL, 1.3 BLK, 7.9 PTS this season)

C – Henry Sims (15 GS, .500 FG%, .763 FT%, 5.9 REB, 1.1 AST, 0.8 STL, 0.8 BLK, 10.0 PTS this season)

Key Reserves    

Dec 1, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard K.J. McDaniels (14) and guard Alexey Shved (88) and guard Hollis Thompson (31) huddle up and talk after a missed shot against the San Antonio Spurs during the second half at Wells Fargo Center. The Spurs defeated the 76ers 109-103. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

K.J. McDaniels (SG) – The rookie out of Clemson has been superb the last three games, averaging 16.3 points and 9.3 rebounds. He recorded his first career double-double on Saturday against the Mavs, with 21 points and 13 rebounds.

Alexey Shved – (SG) –  Old friend Alexey Shved was a part of the offseason mega-deal between the Wolves, Cavaliers, and Sixers. He is battling a hip flexor injury and may be unavailable, but off of the Philly bench, Shved has averaged an impressive 10.4 points per game.

Brandon Davies (PF) – The former BYU Cougar has played in all 17 of the team’s losses this season, making six starts. After averaging over 15 points per game in the first four contests, Davies has not reached double figures since then and has failed to connect on a three-pointer since Nov. 14 against the Rockets.


– No surprises here: Rubio (ankle), Pekovic (wrist), Martin (wrist), and Ronny Turiaf (hip) will all be out for this one.

3 things to look out for

1. A young man’s game – With the quartet of players out for Flip Saunders’ team, the Wolves become even younger. Turiaf (32) and Martin (31) are two of the elder statesman on the roster and Williams is now four years older than any of the other active players. For the visitors, they do not have a single player on their active roster in their 30s, with Mbah a Moute being the veteran of the group at 28.

2. No offense, but the Sixers offense is really bad – We all know that Philly is bad, but let’s look at just how putrid their scoring output has been so far. They are shooting a league-worst 36.9 percent on the road and average just 82.1 points per game away from their arena (also the worst.)  Their .304 3 PT% is the second worst in the league, they’re dead last in free throw percentage, and they commit the most turnovers. Yeah, it’s bad in the city of brotherly love.

3. Thad vs. Nerlens – Noel is questionable for this game with a hip flexor injury, but if he plays, this could be a good test for Young. Noel is a younger, more athletic big man, and has a big size advantage on the former Sixer (three inches and eight pounds.) 


I’ve been pretty bad at the prediction game so far this season, but let’s hope I can nail this forecast.

Even without a trio of crucial players, the Wolves should be able to come out victorious in this one. The 76ers are dealing with injury issues of their own and they are 0 AND FREAKING 17!

Let’s go with the Wolves winning in front of the Target Center crowd by five, giving the Nets some company in the land of embarrassment.