Wolves at Nets
The Wolves are back in action tonight in Brooklyn against the Nets. This is the beginning of their long sojourn across North America that will take them to Florida, Mexico, Texas and Louisiana before returning to Minnesota.
The Wolves have played three close games to start the season, beating the Pistons at home in between losses to the Grizzlies and Bulls, but have generally looked better than I expected. We are still too early in the season to draw any real conclusions about this squad, but some things we expected (limited three point attempts, too many two point jumpers) have come to pass while others have not (strong rebounding).
This trip should give us some idea of where the season is going--will they be competitive throughout the year and reach a mid-30s win total that many of the advanced metrics predict, or will things go south figuratively as well as literally?
Everyone is healthy and ready to go for the Wolves. Thad Young has practiced the last two days:
Young again fine in practice today; Flip said nobody was limited in practice today.— Kent Youngblood (@BloodStrib) November 4, 2014
The Nets are off to a 2-1 start, beating the Pistons and Thunder following an opening night loss to the Celtics. The competition has not been formidable, but their offense has been very impressive. After three games, they are shooting nearly 50% as a team from the field, with Joe Johnson leading the way averaging 22 ppg. He's the kind of big wing player who often gives the Wolves fits.
Hopefully some regression will start to happen tonight, because much like the Wolves, the Nets take a lot of midrange jump shots. They are way above league average in percentage their shots taken from 16' out to the three point line.. Also like the Wolves, they have made more than their share of them. On the other hand, they also take a reasonable number of threes, and have been making them at a decent 37% clip.
What they don't do is take a lot of shots at the rim (24th in % of shots taken from 0-3'). The result of this is a very low free throw rate (27th in the league). The Wolves will need to win the free throw battle to have any chance tonight.
Brook Lopez returned in their last game after missing most of last season and looked good, scoring 18 points in 24 minutes. The Nets have shown off their depth, getting significant contributions from Mizra Teletovic, Alan Anderson, and now that Lopez in back, Mason Plumlee in bench roles.
Of course Kevin Garnett is back for the Nets in what is likely to be his final season as an NBA player. He's looked good early as well.
Here is the contracted for FanDuel link. I still haven't sniffed a winner. But hope springs eternal. (Actually, it doesn't).