Recognizing what has become clear, that having two offensive non-factors in the starting lineup is not workable long term, Sam Mitchell announced a change starting with tonight's game against the Philadelphia 76ers. Unfortunately, it's not the change most of us were hoping for: rather he is inserting Kevin Martin into the starting lineup in place of Tayshaun Prince, who has contributed defensively but has no offensive role whatsoever.
Martin is certainly a change; he remains a potent scorer at age 32. Despite some uncharacteristically poor shooting to start the season, Martin is still the Wolves biggest threat from beyond the arc, and is still a master at getting to the free throw line, two of the most efficient ways to score in the NBA. Unfortunately, he comes with drawbacks: namely that he isn't a very good mover of the ball and tends to stop and look for his own opportunities when he catches it, and also of course he is not a strong defensive player. Hopefully slotted between Ricky Rubio and Andrew Wiggins, with Karl-Anthony Towns backstopping, the Wolves starting unit will be able to cover up his individual defensive deficiencies.
Meanwhile, many of us of course have been suggesting a different change to the starting lineup: namely inserting Zach LaVine at the starting two guard spot. That would have the added benefit of forcing Andre Miller into the game as the back up point guard, and while he has his own weaknesses, at least there would be a facilitator out there with scorers like Martin and Shabazz Muhammad. But Mitchell seems insistent on keeping LaVine in the point guard role, at least for now.
Expect much more on that topic later in the week from John, who is at the forefront of the "start Zach LaVine" movement.
Mitchell also spoke about playing Shabazz Muhammad more minutes, presumably reducing Prince's even further, which is interesting because I was recently speculating about why Muhammad seemed to have such a short leash. It sounds as if Mitchell wants to loosen it up; we'll see if it actually happens when the games start. Muhammad remains a high usage, somewhat efficient binge scorer who rarely passes and has his own defensive awareness problems. He has seemed somewhat less sure of himself this season, and hasn't been as strong on the offensive glass as we saw last year. His threes have also not been falling, all of which means that he's taken a slight step back from where he was prior to his injury last year, but the sample is small and it's still early. It remains unclear how the Wolves actually view Muhammad, but their lack of offense recently might force their hand to give him more run.
Wolves host the winless 76ers tonight; let's not have a repeat of last year's debacle when the Sixers came in to Target Center winless.
Elsewhere, Golden State extended their unbeaten start to 15 last night in Denver. They'll have to lose sometime. Meanwhile, the Nets and Pelicans each won their third games of the season, over the Celtics and Suns respectively. Anthony Davis appears ready to take things into his own hands after a fairly slow start, as he just went for 32 and 19, with 4 blocks against the Suns.
That leaves only three teams with fewer than six losses in the Western Conference, and two with fewer than five. Things are crowded.
No history today, I don't have it in me.
Today's musical birthday is Miley Cyrus, born in 1992. Here she is with Laura Jane Grace and a song close to my heart.
And because I can, here's another one, with Cyrus, Grace, and the incomparable Joan Jett:
Have a great Monday