Notes on the Timberwolves’ preseason so far…


The Minnesota Timberwolves have played in three somewhat competitive games, in three relatively competitive atmospheres, if you care to include the opening scrimmage when the Wolves hosted the Wolves.

Their first preseason game was against the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Target Center, and the Wolves got annihilated, 122-99. The second and latest preseason game was against the Chicago Bulls in Winnipeg, Canada and the Wolves lost by a final of 110-97.

In both preseason losses, we’ve seen different things from different players that should be talked about.

The Bounce Bros have looked deflated.

Andrew Wiggins has been coasting through a majority of the preseason. Through the first two games, Wiggins has combined to shoot 4 of 15 from the field. It doesn’t matter if you win or lose in preseason, but it does matter if your young players are getting better and Wiggins appears to be going through the motions both offensively and defensively. Sure, I’m being nit-picky, but it’s something I’ve noticed that I don’t like.

Zach LaVine has combined to shoot 3 of 19. LaVine has looked like the November player of last year instead of the April player of last year that we all hoped to see. The Wolves play against the Toronto Raptors in Toronto tonight, so hopefully LaVine can find a rhythm offensively.

The rookies have played well.

Karl-Anthony Towns has shown the shooting touch from mid-rangeyay, mid-range – and low-post skill. Towns had 18 points in his preseason debut and he had a double-double in his second preseason game in Canada. It’s nice to have a player as quick and as multi-dimensional as Karl-Anthony Towns.

Tyus Jones struggled in his first preseason game, but does anyone have success against Russell Westbrook? When the Wolves acquired Tyus, many people thought he would be a backup guard for his entire career. But he has shown a lot of abilities offensively that not everyone realized he possessed. Jones stroked it against Chicago and also set up teammates for easy baskets.

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My prediction is that Tyus Jones is the future starting point guard of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Not a lot of people are on board with me, but that’s what I think. To be clear, Tyus is not better than Ricky Rubio and if I was starting a team, I would always pick Rubio over Jones.

Right now, Wiggins, LaVine and Towns need Ricky to create for them, but in three to four seasons, when Wiggins, LaVine and Towns are near their primes, they won’t necessarily need a passer like Rubio to set them up for easy buckets. Those three players should be able to do that themselves.

Tyus will provide much needed offensive spacing in a few years. Double off of Tyus and he can make you pay. Double off of Ricky, and he won’t make you pay (at least not yet). It’s that simple. If the Timberwolves offense still relies on Rubio making plays for his teammates in three years, well, that’s not good.

The Serbian looks like an instant fan favorite.

Nemanja Bjelica has looked like a player who’s simply smarter than the player who’s defending him. Bjelica isn’t speedy nor is he an athletic specimen, but “Bjelly” can play. Bjelica is a player who finds open looks for his teammates while still having the ability to provide for himself. Simply put, Bjelica always looks to make the right play.

Wolves fans: The season starts in sixteen days.

The Timberwolves will hopefully show an improvement on defense, but keep in mind, preseason is a feeling out process, too. Sam Mitchell is giving players minutes that most likely won’t receive minutes in the regular season and Mitchell is probably testing player rotations, too.

The Wolves open up the regular season on Wednesday, October 28th in Los Angeles against the Lakers on ESPN.

We’re all counting down the days.

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