After months of waiting, we’re finally on the cusp of a brand new season. With the preseason games coming thick and fast, we decided to introduce a new way to get your dose of post-match goodness. Unlike our regular and still awesome game recaps, which will continue to run as usual, Pack Points will be a fast-paced summation of every game with the only the very best and very worst parts highlighted.
With that in mind, we will begin the Pack Points era with the 119-111 preseason victory over the Indiana Pacers.
Just like the first preseason outing against the Phoenix Suns, this one wasn’t televised. It seems like the Timberwolves have got the short end of the stick in this regard, as most teams have had all of their games available to watch.
Of course, you can delve into the fiery pits of the interwebs and find a stream somewhere. However, they’re about as trustworthy and safe as a back-alley surgeon.
Hopefully none of you had their organs harvested trying to watch the new-look Wolves.
KAT’s Out Of The Bag
Or should it be in his bag? Either way, Karl-Anthony Towns was electric last night. He has been kept under wraps for the majority of the first three preseason outings, registering over 20 minutes just once thus far, but he was unchained in this one.
In 26 minutes of play, the two-time All-Star put up 33 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and three blocks while shooting 13-20 from the field and 4-8 from long-range. He abused whatever opponent Nate McMillan threw at him all night long, especially rookie Goga Bitadze, who was the victim of a put-back poster and the filthy step-back triple you can see below.
Lucky the game wasn’t televised, because I’m pretty sure that’s illegal in most states. Anyway ... long live red-hot KAT.
He may be working his way back from a season-ending knee injury that required surgery over the summer, but Robert Covington hadn’t been his usual self in the first trio of exhibition games.
Game four was the perfect chance to rebound from that poor form — and rebound he damn well did. Stunningly, RoCo amassed an otherworldly 19 rebounds in just 28 minutes of action. He grabbed four offensive and 15 defensive boards in the Rodman-esque performance. Mainly coming against Domantas Sabonis, who is an excellent rebounder in his own right.
With Gersson Rosas and Ryan Saunders intent on making the fast-moving, long-shooting, perimeter-switching small ball a thing, there was always the worry that rebounding would come back to haunt them. Obviously, Covington isn’t going to grab 19 boards a game, but that’s a gentle reminder that he can do work on the glass, which could brighten up the dark cloud that hangs over the small starting line-up.
Board man gets paid.
Another night, another Jarrett Culver performance that left fans salivating at his future prospects. He dropped 15 points, four rebounds, three assists and a steal in just 20 minutes of action on Tuesday night, which is looking like it could be a regular night at the office this season.
Over his four preseason outings, Culver is averaging 20.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.5 steals per 36 minutes. Ryan Saunders has given him an opportunity to initiate the offense as a fully-fledged point guard on multiple occasions, which has been one of the biggest talking points of the past fortnight.
When he isn’t trying to set up his teammates, he has shown the same penchant for getting to the rim as he did at Texas Tech. He isn’t the fastest mover, but he is smooth as silk and has an advanced handle for a player of his length and size.
Here is the best example of that oozing class we have seen so far. A jaw-dropping hop-step that left Aaron Holiday wondering what day it was.
Culinary Culver is going to be on the menu a lot this year. Trust me, it’s gonna be fun.
A Wiggins Special
Unfortunately, that’s not a good thing.
Wiggins put up a stat line that felt all too familiar to Wolves faithful. He jacked up 16 shots and made just four of them, while adding just three rebounds and a single assist to round out a pretty dismal night. He has looked slightly more confident and disciplined than last season lately, but this was an ugly one.
Perhaps even more worrying is that as his habitual struggles set in, Wiggins reverted to his old ways. Instead of the Wiggins we have seen, who has been mindful of his shot selection, he threw the new playbook out the window.
The Timberwolves shot just 12 shots from outside the paint but inside the 3-point line for the game. Wiggins heaved up four of those, connecting on just one. He also clanked a pair of 12-footers, which were technically still in the paint but not the shot the coaching staff — or fans — will want to see.
Saunders and Rosas have pumped air into his tires all summer, but they will quickly be flattened if he tries to buck the system when things get tough.