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Zach LaVine's Migration to Shooting Guard, Wolves in Toronto

The Wolves are in Toronto for the start of a three game road trip as Zach LaVine eases into the starting off-guard role and Nikola Pekovic is out indefinitely.

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning Wolves fans.

The Wolves embark on a three game road trip tonight starting in Toronto, hometown of Andrew Wiggins. Speaking of whom, Wiggins turned 21 yesterday, so happy birthday Andrew.  Will "He's only 21!" replace "He's only 20!" in the Canis lexicon? Keep tuning in to find out.

The story of the moment in Wolvesdom is Zach LaVine's slow migration to the starting shooting guard spot. He has started three of the last four games at that spot, with the Wolves picking up two wins in those three games.  It's clearly beneficial to LaVine to be playing that spot, where he isn't asked to run the team. His pairing with Ricky Rubio is LaVine's only net positive pairing among his top 10 most used 2-man combinations (+0.8), and the five man starting unit of Rubio-LaVine-Wiggins-Dieng-Towns is +4.9/100 in 169 minutes played.

Whether a LaVine-Wiggins pairing at the wing spot is ultimately the future of a winning Wolves team remains to be seen--hopefully there is competition there over the coming seasons--but hopefully we're seeing LaVine finding a more permanent and consistent position off the ball, something I believe is better for everyone.  For the rest of this season, of course, it creates an even bigger hole at back up point guard, with Mitchell seemingly disinterested in playing Andre Miller, which is reasonable given his age and lack of future, and Tyus Jones appearing unready at best given his physical limitations.

Still, figuring out how effective LaVine can be at his more natural position, and what he needs to work on there, is a good goal for the rest of the season and I hope we see him in the starting lineup from here on out.

Meanwhile, the team sent out a press release about Nikola Pekovic telling us nothing we didn't already know--he's out indefinitely as they will continue to work on rehab for his ailing foot. He managed 12 appearances before going on the shelf again, and it seems highly unlikely we will see him out there again this season. I would bet against him ever playing professional basketball again, which is hugely disappointing for Pek fans, to say nothing of the man himself.  We'll see what happens this summer. A retirement wouldn't be shocking, but maybe he'll give it one more try.

Given his absence and Kevin Garnett's continued unavailability, the Wolves find themselves not surprisingly short-handed, particularly up front. It would be nice to have a free roster spot to experiment with guys, but that's not the way the Wolves generally do things.  They aren't very proactive about this sort of thing, which is disappointing. There are both veterans like Jason Thompson (waived by Golden State) as well as plenty of young D-leaguers who might be worth trying out, but flexibility with the last couple of spots on the roster is not the Wolves Way.

I feel that I haven't written enough about Karl-Anthony Towns--he certainly deserves a major article on Canis, but...what do you say about a guy this good this soon? I don't know what to write.  Of the 12 other guys who have averaged a 16+ ponts double-double while shooting better than 50%, seven of them are already in the Hall of Fame, two are sure fire HOFers as soon as eligible (Shaq, Duncan), one is a current star (Griffin), and the other two were fine, fine players.  It's an unreal list.

Today in history

303: First official edict for persecution of Christians issued by the Emperor Diocletian. 
1525: Battle of Pavia: HRE forces defeat French 
1541: Santiago Chile founded 
1711: Handel's opera "Rinaldo" premieres in London
1803: U.S. Supreme Court issues famous Marbury vs. Madison opinion, ruling a law unconstitutional for the first time. 
1821: Mexico gains independence from Spain
1839: William Otis patents the steam shovel
1848: 2nd French Republic declared as King Louis-Phillipe abdicates. 
1863: Arizona Territory created
1868: House votes to impeach Andrew Johnson
1876: Ibsen's "Peer Gynt" premieres in Oslo
1881: Work begins on Panama Canal
1917: Zimmerman telegram exposed
1924: Gandhi released from prison
1944: Juan Peron stages coup in Argentina
1981: Prince Charles and Diana announce engagement
1991: U.S. begins ground assault on Iraqi troops
2008: Fidel Castro retires as president of Cuba

Today's musical birthday is George Thorogood, born in 1950.

Have a great Wednesday.