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Presason Opener: Wolves vs. Heat

The Timberwolves take on the Miami Heat in their first preseason game action for the 2016-2017 season.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Golden State Warriors Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Wolves vs. Heat
7:30 pm CDT

It’s finally game time. Tonight the Wolves play against the Miami Heat in their preseason opener. This is the most important game of the season so far. The game will be played at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, and it turns out the revolution will NOT be televised. Fear not though, because you can check back here tomorrow where Canis’ Clyde Frazier will be dropping his always great House of Highlights covering all the best of what we missed.

The Heat already have one preseason game under their belt. They played the Wizards on the road on Tuesday, a game in which they handily won 105-96. Hassan Whiteside went to work right away earning his newly inked four year, $98 million contract, putting up 20 points on 9-12 shooting to go along with 13 rebounds and 3 blocks. Towns and the rest of the bigs are going to have their hands full manning the post on both ends of the floor. Justise Winslow also had a fantastic line, posting a team high +20 with 12 points on 5-8 shooting and three assists. I absolutely love Winslow’s game.

As Eric noted yesterday, Jerry Zgoda’s blog Strib post yesterday included some quotes from Tom Thibodeau regarding the rotations. The expected starting five will be Rubio, LaVine, Wiggins, Dieng, and Towns, with a second unit of Dunn, Rush, Muhammad, Bjelica, and Aldrich. The coach also noted that although he wants to give his primary units playing time to build chemistry together, he also wants to get a look at everybody.

Given the nature of preseason and the usual manner in which minutes are allocated in these exhibitions, I expect the starters to come out together, with substitutions occurring early and often. It would be a surprise if any of the starters play more than about 25 minutes, and we should expect some inflated playing time from the fringe rotation players like Tyus Jones, Jordan Hill, and roster hopeful Rasual Butler.

Around The League

Gordon Hayward fractured a finger on his non-shooting left hand in practice yesterday, apparently a result of getting his hand caught in a teammates jersey. He is going to be further evaluated over the weekend and it’s not clear how much time he is going to miss, although the early reports are suggesting that he will likely miss at least the first two weeks of regular season games. Injuries suck.

Devin Booker had a monster game last night against Portland. The Suns’ second-year guard put up 34 points on 15-23 shooting. If Devin Booker is going to take 23 shots a night, I am going to watch some Suns games.

The Memphis Grizzlies have waived point guard Tony Wroten after only one preseason game. I’m not real sure what the market looks like right now, but I’m assuming Wroten will not be on a roster before the season starts.

I Love Larry and So Can You

Larry Nance Jr. had another nice outing last night against the Nuggets with a +/- of +10, 11 points on 4-7 shooting, five rebounds, and a steal. Earlier this week against the Kings, he had an even better line with a +20, nine points, four rebounds, two assists, two steals, and three blocks. That’s called a “Kirilenko.”

Right now, Larry Nance Jr. is hands down the best player in the NBA to come out of the University of Wyoming. We don’t get a whole lot of big name basketball (or anything else) talent out here in Cowboy Country, so it’s really important for me to hold on to gift of Larry and never ever let go.

Our hero posted a DRPM of +1.37 last year as a rookie, which put him right in the ballpark of other stretchy frontcourt defenders like Mbah a Moute (+1.72), Taj Gibson (+1.56), and Nick Collison (also +1.37). He should be improved this year out in LA (henceforth referred to as “Electric Larry Land”) with better coaching and more roster balance. Mark my words - Larry will be viewed as the absolute best value pick in last year’s draft (#27 pick).

What’s not to love about Larry? Also, if you are looking for holiday gift ideas for your boy elavator, my jersey size is extra medium.

Wolves Preseason Schedule

I’ll finish up here with a quick look at the upcoming preseason schedule over the next week. The Wolves play 5 games in the next 8 days, all of them on the road.

@ Charlotte, Monday, October 10th, 6:00 CST

vs. Denver (in Lincoln, NE), Wednesday, October 12th, 7:00 CST

@ Miami (in Louisville, KY), Saturday, October 15th, 6:30 CST

@ OKC, Sunday, October 16th, 6:00 CST

The Wolves will wrap up the preseason with their final two games at Target Center against Memphis (October 19) and Charlotte (October 21). The Canis team will be all over covering everything Wolves preseason.

Enjoy staring at the boxscore/twitter updates tonight!