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Preseason Game Preview #1: Wolves vs. Grizzlies

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Welcome back, everyone.

Minnesota Timberwolves 2020 Content Day Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images

276 days.

That’s how long it’s been since the Minnesota Timberwolves last played a competitive basketball game. We as a little Canis community (as well as our country and world as a whole) have been through a LOT during those 6,624 hours — a global pandemic that continues to take the lives of so many people we love and care about, social unrest, an election cycle, drawn-out economic issues — the list goes on and on.

When I took over for Eric back on April 1, 2020, the world looked a lot different than it does now. I’ve had family members lose their jobs and friends lose their loved ones. I, like many of you, have not been able to visit my elderly parents in 2020 because of precautions to keep them safe, and as the pandemic continues to rage on, I find myself with less and less “escapes” or “distractions” to keep my spirits up.

The one thing I have had these last nine months or so since the world was turned upside down is Canis Hoopus. I have no idea how we kept producing daily, fresh content over these last nine months, but to our entire staff — I sincerely thank you for the countless hours you’ve put in behind the scenes to make this site as strong as it’s ever been.

On that same note, I want to sincerely thank each and every one of the valued members that make up the Canis Hoopus community. I know I got off to a rocky start earlier this spring, but you have all supported me, provided fair and honest feedback, and done an amazing job of policing the heart and soul of what makes Canis what it is — non-basketball discussions, debates, and sometimes even spirited arguments. I appreciate all of you so much.

Anyone who actually knows me as a person and not just by my byline in articles or half-assed puns on Twitter knows I’m a super emotional guy. I truly do love Canis Hoopus. I truly would do anything for our writing staff and have never appreciated the comment section more than I do now (especially in this year). As we continue to become more isolated during the pandemic, these pages have brought me a much-needed sense of joy, energy, and even the occasional laugh or two.

With Timberwolves basketball officially back in our lives starting tonight, I do simply ask that going forward we continue to show respect for each and every member of this community. While we may not always see eye-to-eye, please refrain from ever letting a topic/situation escalate by promoting/suggesting violence, directly disrespecting another commenter/contributor, excessive use of profanity, etc. Canis has always been a spot where a wide mix of comments and opinions are welcomed (and truly encouraged), but I do just ask that we continue to honor the few simple guidelines that we (and SB Nation) have in place for this type of platform.

As always, I hope you all continue to stay safe, be well, and have a fantastic holiday season. Thank you so much for sticking with us over these last nine months, and we look forward to navigating this upcoming season with all of you.


Game Info

Who: Memphis Grizzlies (0-0) at Minnesota Timberwolves (0-0)
When: 7:00 pm CST
TV: Fox Sports North (streaming on the Fox Sports Go app)
Radio: 830 WCCO AM Radio


Welcome back, Minnesota fans!

The longest offseason of my lifetime is officially a thing of the past, as the Timberwolves kick off their first home preseason game tonight against the Memphis Grizzlies. There are still plenty of things to iron out for both franchises before real games kick off in a few weeks, but tonight’s contest should give us our first real glimpse at what the 2020-2021 season has in store.

As we pivot from offseason mode to the start of a new season, just a quick reminder that you can expect to see a Game Preview posted shortly before the tip of each game, and I strongly encourage readers to use these previews as threads to discuss the game, voice your opinions, etc. We will also be posting game summaries shortly after the conclusion of each contest, including our own thoughts and analysis of what took place in each of the upcoming 72 games (and 3 preseason games).

What To Watch For

But back to basketball — as mentioned at the top, the Timberwolves will take the floor tonight for the first time in over nine months, with a batch of new faces (Anthony Edwards, Jayden McDaniels, Ed Davis), familiar faces (Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley) and the best faces (Ricky Rubio).

While many of us, myself included, are eager to see what the team looks like tonight, I should probably throw some cold water on the fire that in reality, we are probably about to experience a modified pickup game more than a playoff-caliber competition. Many of the Wolves’ regulars will only play a handful of minutes (according to head coach Ryan Saunders) and early rotations could be... funky.

But nevertheless, tonight will be only our second time EVER to see Karl-Anthony Towns run pick-n-roll with D’Angelo Russell. Anthony Edwards will be suiting up in blue and green for the first time in his young NBA career, and Ricky Rubio returns to the specific arena that welcomed him to the league back in 2011.

Be sure to follow our own Jack Borman on Twitter, who will be on recap duty tonight and will be live tweeting throughout the game (including a really cool tracking spreadsheet to monitor various rotations).

Injury Reports

If you’ve frequented Canis throughout the entire extended offseason, thank you again! And if you’re just stopping by for the first time — welcome! While the quest for 82-0 72-0 doesn’t technically start tonight, this first opportunity to see what kind of ingredients we have in the kitchen should provide far more clarity on what we can expect on the menu in 2021.

Stay safe, be well, and Go Wolves.