Wolves rest Anthony Edwards but dominating Dallas in Abu Dhabi

Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /

What did you want to see from the Minnesota Timberwolves in their first preseason game? Did you want to see how the Timberwolves will deploy rookie forward Leonard Miller? Did you want to see how well that 2023 FIBA World Cup Tournament sensational spotlight would carry over to the NBA for All-Star shooting guard Anthony Edwards?  How about the manner in which the new Minnesota Timberwolves roster carries itself?

Hey, let’s face the cold hard truth. The Minnesota Timberwolves are playing their first preseason game against the Dallas Mavericks in Abu Dhabi right now. The game started at 11:00 am CT on October 5, 2023, and so far the game has been all Timberwolves.  So how can the Wolves be winning without Anthony Edwards on the basketball court?

Ah, the Timberwolves depth chart is loaded, and due to the glut of new shooting guards on this Timberwolves roster, the Wolves are giving Ant-Man time off just to accelerate the opportunities of the guards on this team.

86. Halftime. 49. 79. 66

This Timberwolves defense is looking every bit in regular season form. The Mavericks missed their first 14 three-point shots in this one before Mavericks power forward Grant Miller finally connected two from beyond the arc with seven minutes to go in the second quarter. But as Miller sank a pair of perimeter shots for the Mavericks, the Timberwolves trio of PF Karl-Anthony Towns, SG Nickeil Alexander-Walker, and new PG/SG Shake Milton had already recorded a pair of perimeter shots.

Several of the keys for the Minnesota Timberwolves in preseason games will depend upon the Timberwolves’ perimeter shooting, perimeter defense, and the ability of this Timberwolves team to work the boards by rebound.

So let’s give you an update on those stats:

  1. Timberwolves perimeter shooting: 9 of 20 (45.0 percent)
  2. Timberwolves perimeter defense: Mavericks 6 of 23 (26.1 percent)
  3. Rebounds:  Timberwolves 26 Mavericks 19

So who are the Minnesota Timberwolves heroes in the first half of the first preseason game?

  1. PF Karl-Anthony Towns – 18 points | 3 rebounds | 1 assist | 2 blocks | 33.3 3PT%
  2. SG Nickeil Alexander-Walker – 8 points | 4 rebounds | 5 assists | 2 blocks | 66.7 3PT%
  3. SF Jaden McDaniels – 9 points | 3 rebounds | 0 assists | 0 blocks | 33.3 3PT%

The Timberwolves played a rather tight rotation in the first half of this one. The Timberwolves played

Center – Rudy Gobert / Naz Reid / Karl-Anthony Towns
Power Forward – Karl-Anthony Towns / Naz Reid / Kyle Anderson
Small Forward – Jaden McDaniels / Kyle Anderson / Troy Brown Jr.
Shooting Guard – Nickeil Alexander-Walker / Shake Milton
Point Guard – Mike Conley Jr. / Shake Milton / Jordan McLaughlin

The Timberwolves will likely loosen up the rotations to give younger new faces some playing time. And I will be the first to admit that preseason is nothing more than dress rehearsals. But if the Timberwolves can deliver one iota of the dominance that they are showcasing in this game, they are going to be a force to be reckoned with.

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