Minnesota Timberwolves (1-0) at Los Angeles Clippers (1-0)
Tonight the Wolves head to the Staples Center for their second preseason game of the year as they face off against the Los Angeles Clippers. Preseason games are always intriguing to watch for the little things that could make a difference come regular season time.
The obvious storyline here is Jimmy Butler listed the Clippers as one of his preferred destinations. The Clippers have a lot of players who could make sense in a potential deal, but it is unclear how willing they will be to give up valuable assets to trade for a player they may be able to wait and sign in free agency.
For Minnesota, there are a few key areas to watch for tonight. First, how will Tom Thibodeau distribute minutes? Thibs’ minutes usage needs no introduction, but it will still be interesting to see. He gave a few older veterans a ton of minutes in their first preseason game, namely Anthony Tolliver. It will be interesting to see whether that trend continues, or if the younger players get more playing time.
There were four players (James Nunnally, Jared Terrell, Darius Johnson-Odom, Jonathan Stark) who did not play in Minnesota’s first preseason game, and it would be nice if the team could get a look at those players in this game. The most intriguing of that bunch, by far, is international three-point sniper James Nunnally. If his shooting is able to translate to the NBA game, he could be a solid bench contributor for the Wolves.
As always, fans will be watching to see if Andrew Wiggins shows any sort of improvement in terms of defensive energy, positioning and shot selection. At this point, any time there is any glimpse of improvement, the Wolves will take it from Wiggins.
There will also surely be a spotlight on Derrick Rose as he makes his second straight start alongside Jeff Teague in the backcourt. The Wolves will be watching closely to see how those two play together.
Lastly, eyes will surely be on Timberwolves rookies Josh Okogie and Keita Bates-Diop. Both had their moments in the first preseason game, but Okogie showed a little more as a solid cutter and defender, while his athleticism popped off the screen regularly.
As for the Clippers, they are kind of in a transitional period. Once built for deep playoff runs, all the key members of “Lob City” are gone. They have a lot of talent across the board, but most eyes will be on rookie first-rounders Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jerome Robinson. That appears to be the backcourt of the future for the Clippers, and it promises to be fun to watch.
Beyond that, they sport more talented players such as sixth man of the year winner Lou Williams, who is sure to make Minnesota work defensively.
One other player to watch for Minnesota fans, Montrezl Harrell. He’s an extremely energetic front court player who does all the little things for the Clippers. He’s the kind of guy who makes winning plays all over the place. While “Lob City” may be dead, this team is still one that will be an entertaining League Pass follow.
There’s a lot to watch for tonight, but especially in a preseason game, the improvements and contributions from role players are the most important things to watch for.
Projected Starting Line-ups