Minnesota Timberwolves: Takeaways from preseason loss to Suns

Ricky Rubio #11 of the Phoenix Suns. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Barry Gossage NBAE via Getty Images)
Ricky Rubio #11 of the Phoenix Suns. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Barry Gossage NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves opened the preseason schedule with a loss to the Suns in Phoenix on Tuesday night. Let’s go through a few takeaways from the game.

If a Minnesota Timberwolves preseason game isn’t broadcast on television or radio, did it really happen?

Well, technically, yes, but I’m not going to pretend that I know exactly what happened. But even still, the box score and the Twitter machine can give us a pretty good idea of what went down at Talking Stick Resort Arena in the Arizona desert.

While the result was a 111-106 loss to the Suns, that isn’t necessarily what is most important when it comes to preseason basketball.

First of all, the Wolves were facing off against old friends Ricky Rubio and Dario Saric. The former did not disappoint, while the latter put up a stat line that Wolves fans became familiar with over the second part of last season.

The Suns were led by last year’s No. 1-overall pick Deandre Ayton, who put up 18 points on 9-of-14 shooting and grabbed 13 rebounds in 21 minutes of play. Devon Booker had 15 points on eight shots and pitched in five assists and four rebounds.

Rubio had a solid Suns debut with 13 points and five assists, although he shot just 5-for-13 from the field.

For the Wolves, Karl-Anthony Towns had 19 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists in just 19 minutes. He shot 7-of-13 from the floor and 3-of-8 from beyond the arc. The only other Wolves in double-figures scoring were rookie Jarrett Culver with 11 points and Tyrone Wallace and Gorgui Dieng, who each had 10 points.

There were 16 Wolves who saw the floor in this one, and they all played nine or more minutes. Predictably, Culver and second-year wing Josh Okogie led the way in playing time with 25 minutes apiece.

The rotations are harder to note here without having actually seen the game, but it will something to keep an eye on in Thursday’s game against the Golden State Warriors in a game that actually will be televised.

It is notable that Jake Layman was the fifth starter in this one, with both Okogie and Culver coming off the bench. Layman has a bit more flexibility than either of those two players and obviously has a bit more experience, so perhaps he’ll stick in the starting lineup for the time being.

Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic provided the following breakdown:

The Wolves clearly have plenty to iron out on both ends of the floor, as the 3-point percentage and turnovers are … unsightly, to say the least. But there’s plenty to like about a few of the individual performances.

Only four more preseason games to go before the real fun begins, two weeks from Wednesday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn…

Next. 3 goals for Jarrett Culver in 2019-20. dark

We’ll be back with a much more thorough breakdown of Thursday’s game against the Warriors, which will be broadcast nationally on NBA TV.