The Timberwolves travel to Charlotte tonight to face off against the Hornets. The Wolves will hope to build off their most recent victory on Saturday against the Brooklyn Nets, although unfortunately tonight they will have to face a real NBA team in comparison to the line-up that the Nets were trotting out.
Hopefully we will see Nemanja Bjelica return to action sometime this week. There have been conflicting reports about what his status is and it has been a confounding injury that is eerily similar to what we saw last year with several players, specifically with Anthony Bennet in terms of the undisclosed nature and severity of the injury. Bjelica was struggling to find his confidence before he missed time due to injury and it is likely extremely important for him to end the year on a positive note if he is going to be considered anything other than an afterthought by the Timberwolves front office.
As the Wolves are sitting 20-43 that leaves only 19 games left for the season. The last 20 games or so of the season have a markedly different feel than the earlier portions of the schedule due the wildly different situations teams are finding themselves in as the playoffs and end of season grows near. There will be teams fighting for playoff spots, some will rest players to save them for the playoffs, and finally some teams will be putting less than optimal lineups together to better their draft position.
This variability makes it difficult to judge the Timberwolves quality of play on a game to game basis, as we have already seen in the last week or so. However, the Timberwolves management is reportedly using the final stretch of the season to further evaluate whether or not Sam Mitchell returns as head coach next year.
This quandary leaves the team in a precarious situation as it would be easy too read a successful end of the year as a young team growing together and in need of a stable situation to continue to gel and prepare for a "leap" next year. This narrative is all the more appealing now that the Wolves have jettisoned several veteran players and those left are unable to play due to various injuries. This leaves a team that is almost entirely very young players who can put on spectacular offensive performance against teams who aren't concerned with wins and losses or get completely blown out by teams fighting for a playoff spot.
Whether or not this evaluation method will be an issue remains to be seen, but it is an odd (and somewhat outdated) method of that is likely going to be very dependent upon the level of competition that the Wolves see in their remaining games.
Notes from Around the League
-The big news around the NBA yesterday is that the Lakers managed to upset the Warriors 112-95. This is the first time in league history that a team with a winning percentage below .200 beat a team with a winning percentage about .900. The Warriors shot 4-30 from three during the game. (In my best Charles Barkley voice) This just further proves that jump-shooting teams will never be able to win.
-Michael Beasley has signed with the Houston Rockets for the rest of the season for a deal at the league minimum. The Rockets have a team option for next season.
This Week in...Things that are Great!
The World of Tomorrow is a short animated film that was nominated for an Oscar in the best animated short film category. It is a bit difficult to explain, but the basic premise is a young girl named Emily is transported to the future by a cloned adult version of herself. I don't want to ruin anything by explaining more of the plot, but the film manages to delve into deep issues of science fiction and explore the human condition in its short 16 minute run time in a stronger manner than many full length films. The World of Tomorrow is available for streaming on Netflix. Take the time to watch it.