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Wolves vs Thunder: Getting Back on Track

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Minnesota hosts the feisty and upbeat Oklahoma City Thunder

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Oklahoma City Thunder Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Wolves vs Thunder

7:00pm CST

FS North

While they’re coming off a truly hideous loss in Houston, the Timberwolves still come into play tonight playing some of their better basketball of the season. That only equates to a 5-5 stretch, but still, that qualifies given how poor the play has been this season.

While Karl-Anthony Towns remains out (questionable tonight), the star of the show is undoubtedly Jarrett Culver. He’s been playing much better of late, and the Rook’s confidence on the floor seems to be growing with every game. That, more than anything else, is priority #1 moving forward.

Outside of that, it’s hard to get too excited about any specific aspect of this team. You can tune in to see which young players or G-Leaguer may show out on any given night, but as long as KAT isn’t in the lineup, things are a bit rough.

Oklahoma City, on the other hand, is one of the more intriguing teams in the league. They’re squarely in the playoff field at the moment at 22-17. This shouldn’t be a surprise, considering that the roster is still filled with solid players even after the departures of Russell Westbrook and Paul George.

Chris Paul, Danilo Gallinari, and Steven Adams are all still really, really good. The biggest question was whether they’d be on the Thunder the entire season, and that remains a legitimate question. Loaded with a slew of draft picks from the Russ and PG trade, Oklahoma City is clearly headed towards a rebuild, so moving any of their three current stud vets makes sense at the right price.

While we’re on it, how about the Chris Paul/Russell Westbrook swap? Paul looks to be the vastly better player this season, and Oklahoma City acquired two first-round picks as well as two future pick swaps. What a move by Sam Presti, who’s stockpiled an impressive warchest of picks moving forward.

Another name to note here is Dennis Schroder, who has at least loosely been attached to the Timberwolves in the trade market. To be clear, I don’t think Schroder is particularly good or is someone the Wolves should be looking to add. He’s somewhat talented offensively and has had a strong season, but it feels unlikely that this shooting of his is sustainable. Credit where it is due, though, he’s been very good this year.

Anyways, the main reason this Thunder team is so fun to watch is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. The Canadian looks to be one of the brightest young stars in the league, and will be a delight to watch tonight. SGA is silky smooth with a 6’6” frame that allows him to see over most other lead guards. His play-making could use some polish, but he’s already so adept at scoring from all over the floor. He’s the building block for OKC’s future, and further enforces the PKP Draft Model.

Watch our for the three point guard lineups from OKC where CP3, Schroder, and SGA are all on the floor together. That lineup has been killing opponents this year.

Lastly, who could preview a Minnesota/Oklahoma City game without mentioning Andrew Wiggins. For whatever reason, he always seems to play some of his best basketball against the Thunder, and Minnesota would surely take one of those signature games this evening.

Projected Lineups

Thunder

Chris Paul

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Terrance Ferguson

Danillo Gallinari

Steven Adams

Wolves

Shabazz Napier

Jarrett Culver

Andrew Wiggins

Robert Covington

Gorgui Dieng