Timberwolves Season Series Preview: Golden State Warriors

April 5, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) shoots the basketball against Minnesota Timberwolves guard Andrew Wiggins (22) during overtime at Oracle Arena. The Timberwolves defeated the Warriors 124-117. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
April 5, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) shoots the basketball against Minnesota Timberwolves guard Andrew Wiggins (22) during overtime at Oracle Arena. The Timberwolves defeated the Warriors 124-117. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

This is Part 14 in our series previewing each of the Timberwolves’ opponents and the respective upcoming season series.

Tale of the tape: Well, if you had an NBA pulse last year, you know exactly how the Warriors exerted their dominance over the entire league over the course of the regular season.

73 wins? Check. The first and only unanimous MVP in NBA history? Check. Unfortunately, the Timberwolves were no exception to that dominance, save for what was my favorite game I’ve seen by the team in the last 10 years, when Minnesota took a 124-117 thriller in Oakland in overtime.

Shabazz Muhammad was absolutely on fire that night off the bench, shooting 75 percent from the field and 88 percent from the line en route to 35 points and 6 rebounds. Andrew Wiggins had 32 of his own, and Karl-Anthony Towns had another typical KAT night, with 20 and 12.

What stood out was the fact that the Wolves were capable of an offensive outburst that could counter that of the Warriors, especially with the regular season wins record in sight for Golden State.

What’s new? Well, let’s just get this out of the way now: Kevin Durant is a Warrior.

I never thought I would compose that sentence. It saddens me, honestly. Even though he went to the University of Texas and was another notable Cyclone crusher, I always loved his game and the way he carried himself. I really enjoyed watching him in OKC.

I don’t think we need to talk about what he did last year or throughout the course of his career, as that’s pretty common knowledge. What needs to be talked about is how he will fit in with a team that, frankly, didn’t need him.

The Warriors’ chemistry has looked great so far in the preseason, and if it continues into the regular season, there’s no question it will cause problems for everyone they face-off against.

KD is already a match-up nightmare, but on a team that can help him create shots rather than him isolating a majority of possessions? Yikes. He could very easily be the cause of a long night or two for the Wolves.

Forward David West left San Antonio to join the Warriors after a year spent mostly coming off the bench. He was effective in just 18 minutes per game with the Spurs, but no doubt benefited from the significant drop in playing time as he’s now entering his age-36 season.

Zaza Pachulia is another newcomer to the Warriors super-team. The 13-year vet has only been a full-time starter for one season, but he will likely find himself in that role again. He’s never put up huge numbers over his career; he averaged 8 points and 9 rebounds in 26 minutes per game last year in Dallas.

Pachulia won’t be called upon to do much in such a stacked lineup, but he will require attention when it comes to the boards. The Timberwolves can’t afford to give this offense second chances.

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JaVale McGee comes over in free agency after also spending last season with the Mavericks. McGee often finds himself on the negative end of some pretty clumsy situations, as can frequently be seen on the TNT/NBA TV segment Shaqtin’-A-Fool. McGee won’t cause any problems, but he’s worth mentioning simply for the fact that he may do something funny.

Key losses: Harrison Barnes, Marreese Speights, assistant/interim coach Luke Walton

What’s the same? Golden State managed to keep most of their team together from last season, including all of their key bench pieces.

I don’t think I need to dig too deep regarding the Splash Brothers. The Wolves will need to pick up Stephen Curry at half-court, as his range is seemingly unlimited. Klay Thompson is probably the best catch-and-shooter in the league, especially from the corners. They are both fully capable of blowing games wide open, along with the previously mentioned Kevin Durant, so Minnesota’s plan of action may look something like this:

Shut down two of them and hope the third is having an off night.

Draymond Green is back as well, of course. Perhaps one of the league’s top defenders, he has also improved greatly on the offensive end. He will be all over Wiggins, LaVine, and we may even see him on Karl-Anthony Towns a time or two.

If the Timberwolves can keep Green under control offensively, then they can just worry about exploiting him defensively, which in my mind is winning that match-up with him.

Along with the starters, Shawn Livingston, Andre Iguodala, and Ian Clark all return to the bench for the Warriors. All play an important role and somehow seem to fit whether they enter one at a time or all together.

Iguodala in particular has really blossomed in his role off the bench at Golden State. In my opinion, the Warriors may be at their best when he’s in the lineup with the Big Four of Curry, Thompson, Durant and Green. That small-ball shooting lineup will be incredibly dangerous.

My prediction? The Warriors are the class of the Western Conference, and they show no signs of slowing down.

Golden State’s roster just simply has too much talent. It is likely that the Wolves will lose this series. However, if I were a betting man, I would take Minnesota getting a win in one of the home showdowns.

The key will be keeping the Warriors’ offense from exploding. Containing it can’t really be expected. If the Wolves can do that and own the paint, they have a great chance against them.

I see the Timberwolves seriously contending with the Warriors at some point down the road for the top of the West. But, that team may be at least a year or two away. Let’s see how the series this year plays out.

Next: Covering The Timberwolves' Preseason Opener Via Twitter

The Timberwolves see Golden State for the first time Thanksgiving weekend, November 26th in Oakland.