Well, it’s been another “eventful” week for the Minnesota Timberwolves (sounds repetitive, no?) In terms of real, actual basketball, the Wolves have had a fairly successful week, starting off with a home win against LAbron and the Los Angeles Lakers, followed by a 50-piece nugget from the former 2011 NBA MVP.
From there, the Wolves went #WheelsUp on their first multi-city road trip, starting out in the Bay against the defending champion Golden State Warriors.
General Soreness is returning to the battlefield tonight in the Land of Oak. pic.twitter.com/JnEpmxBYIs— John Meyer (@thedailywolf) November 2, 2018
Led by General Soreness (more on him in a second), the Wolves fought valiantly for three quarters, but were subsequently out-dueled 33-12 in the 4th quarter, dropping their record once again to a game below .500.
Back to the elephant in the room for a minute... if you haven’t heard, the Jimmy Butler “situation” has evolved recently into him essentially telling his current team when he does (and does not) feel like playing basketball. In other words, Jimmy continues to promote the idea of being “all about winning,” as long as it fits perfectly into his own personal agenda. Leadership 101!
This embarrassing bleep show hit a new low late Friday night, as Jimmy did his first media availability since the #WojBomb dropped detailing Butler’s new nickname. In a back-and-forth with Chris Hine, Butler detailed who exactly is calling the shots when it comes to the availability of the former Marquette standout (thread below):
Jimmy Butler had his first media session since sitting out Wednesday. Asked him if he planned to play any or both parts of upcoming Sunday-Monday back to back, he said "I'll see how my body feels." Then asked who's making these calls on when he sits out ...— Chris Hine (@ChristopherHine) November 3, 2018
(Here’s a video of the post-game exchange between Hine/Butler).
Oh, then there was also this little stunt at the end of the game, with the Wolves starters (sans Butler) still attempting to battle back from their 4th quarter deficit:
Jimmy Butler waving a towel with the Warriors fans.— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) November 3, 2018
Listen, it’s another beautiful fall Sunday for me as I whip up this preview, so I shouldn’t be complaining about a single damn thing. But with that said, I am so over this dude. We got our full season of “Butler Ball,” we erased thirteen years of playoff-less basketball, and we had some fun along the way (I think?). Mission accomplished.
But now? I’ve flip-flopped countless times on how I think the Wolves should handle this, and while I still believe the Wolves possess some sort of the “L” word (leverage), continued stunts like Friday night’s are eroding Butler’s value faster than sticks of butter in a bonfire. I know there are a list of teams that could push the panic button after just one month (most notably Miami, Houston, and Washington), but at what point does a professional franchise start to weigh the risk/reward with this dude?
For example, if you’re Micky Arison, do you really want to invest $190+ million (plus other assets) for the King Cobra of the snake world who publicly disrespects his teammates and chastises his coaches at every turn, all while promoting himself as the second coming of DJ Khaled?
The unfortunate reality here is that the only happy ending to the Jimmy Butler era in Minnesota will be when he’s officially (and finally) removed from the roster once and for all. Younger Kyle (as of like a month ago) would have demanded Josh Richardson or a treasure chest of assets from Philadelphia to make this happen, but fast forward to now, and I just simply want him gone. As Britt Robson recently said, it’s time to “cut the bullshit.”
Back to professional basketball for a minute (keyword here being “professional”). The home team in tonight’s matchup comes in sporting a sparkling 6-3 record, and seems to be once again flying under the radar. Through their first nine games, Damian Lillard has been a fall flamethrower, averaging 29.2 points per game on nearly 50% shooting, including 40% from three. The impeccably dressed Terry Stotts has once again masterfully re-made his bench mob, this time with familiar castoffs like Nik Stauskas and Seth Curry. And finally, Zach Collins looks every bit as promising as scouts thought during the 2017 NBA Draft, and could eventually develop as the third cog in the Blazers wheel as they navigate the NBA trail.
Projected Starting Lineups
PG: Damian Lillard
SG: CJ McCollum
SF: Jake Layman
PF: Al-Farouq Aminu
C: Jusuf Nurkic
PG: Tyus Jones
SG: Andrew Wiggins
SF: (Ask Jimmy)
PF: Taj Gibson
C: Karl-Anthony Towns
For the home team, Moe Harkless (knee) is QUESTIONABLE. As for the Wolves, Derrick Rose (ankle) is QUESTIONABLE, and Jeff Teague (knee) and Justin Patton (foot) are OUT. Jimmy Butler (random search on WebMD) is also QUESTIONABLE.
If you want a different perspective on tonight’s game, our friends over at Blazers Edge have you covered.