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Wolves at Kings: A Look in the Mirror

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Two struggling teams faceoff in Sacramento.

NBA: Houston Rockets at Sacramento Kings Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Wolves at Kings

9:00pm CST

Fox Sports North

Welcome back, everyone. Hopefully the short break allowed you to stop thinking about this iteration of the Minnesota Timberwolves for a bit and enjoy some time with people you care about.

We’re back in action tonight, though, and boy oh boy have both of these teams struggled. The Wolves’ losing streak has gone on so long (11 games) that there really isn’t much new to go over. It’s been that bad. We can only hope Karl-Anthony Towns (Questionable - knee) can play tonight, but if he isn’t 100% healthy it isn’t worth it to push him at this point.

I can’t beat a dead horse with this losing streak anymore, though. There are only two short things I’ll say on it. The first, Jarrett Culver needs more run. He’s been bad recently, and we’ll have more of that covered here in depth soon, but they really just need to let him play through his mistakes. This is very clearly not a playoff team. Minnesota should be doing everything in their power to expedite his growth process.

Secondly, let’s see some more of the young guys, namely Jaylen Nowell and Naz Reid. If you’re looking for reasoning why, take a look at Jake’s outstanding piece here.

In Sacramento, things are equally bad.

First things first, I just want to acknowledge the outstanding job the writers over at Sactown Royalty have done over the years. I’m sure most of you have seen what’s happening over there after the New Year, but they’ve been great. Selfishly, I’ve really taken to their content with the rise of De’Aaron Fox, and I’m going to miss many of their writers after they’re gone.

In terms of actual basketball, though, the Kings appear to have made yet another terrible decision by firing Dave Joerger in favor of Luke Walton.

A feisty playoff contender last season, Sacramento looks like a far cry from the 2018-19 version of their team that had much of the NBA community (myself included) excited about their future.

They’ve decided to play an at an oddly slow pace this year, despite the fact that their franchise player (Fox) is one of the most explosive open floor athletes in the NBA.

Last season, the Kings thrived by allowing Fox to run off both misses AND makes. They seem to be doing less of that this season, and I have absolutely zero idea why.

Not that we don’t have our own issues with coaching, but outside of being gifted Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green for half a season, Luke Walton has never appeared to be a good Head Coach.

The Kings are also struggling to integrate Marvin Bagley III back into the team after he missed an extended period of time due to injury. There are just a lot of awkward pieces right now, and it certainly doesn’t help Bagley’s narrative that Sacramento’s front office chose him over Luka Doncic due to some, well, questionable reasons.

Anyways, I can’t help but feel that this is going to be another long night for Minnesota unless Karl-Anthony Towns comes back. They’ve gotten killed by opposing PG’s all season long and De’Aaron Fox fits the mold of someone who could make that happen. I struggle to see how they contain him and Richaun Holmes, who’s quietly been one of Sacramento’s best players all season long.

I’ve passed the point of optimism with the 2019-20 version of the Minnesota Timberwolves, but at the very least, I’m going to kick back and (try to) enjoy my favorite non-Timberwolves player in the NBA in Fox.

Projected Lineups

Kings

De’Aaron Fox

Buddy Hield

Harrison Barnes

Marvin Bagley III

Richaun Holmes

Wolves

Jarrett Culver

Josh Okogie

Andrew Wiggins

Robert Covington

Gorgui Dieng