Wolves vs Hawks
Amid all the trade deadline drama, there’s still some actual basketball to be played. The Timberwolves and Hawks were both involved in a monster four-team, twelve-player trade last night that has been covered ad-nauseum.
The big result of that trade for tonight is that Minnesota is playing with a severely depleted roster, with five players being dealt last night. If all of the G-Leaguers play, they figure to have ten active players.
I never question Las Vegas, and the Hawks are just as bad as the Wolves (although they are more fun), but somehow the Wolves are still 4.5 point favorites tonight.
Anyways, I’m mostly interested to see who handles the ball tonight for the Wolves, as Jordan McLaughlin is the only active point guard, although he shouldn’t be playing major minutes.
That means we’re likely going to get a ton of Andrew Wiggins at the point. If nothing else, it’ll be nice to see what that looks like if they really, truly commit to that style of play. It’s where he’s been at his best. Minnesota is rumored to be looking for a point guard, and while naturally people will run to D’Angelo Russell, I wonder if they won’t look for a more spot-up, off-ball guard to play that spot as they see what the remainder of the season looks like with Wiggins doing the bulk of the playmaking. It’s worth finding out if he can actually do that. My suspicions are that he’ll look his best in that role, but it won’t be good enough for a team hoping to contend.
If nothing else, tonight will be a good night to get a look at a lot of the young guys. They literally have no choice but to play them, so opportunities will be there for the likes of Kelan Martin, Jarrett Culver, Josh Okogie, and Naz Reid.
The other thing, who the heck is going to play the 4 tonight? Will we get some KAT + Gorgui pairings? That would probably be the best way to attack that situation I guess.
Of course, on the Atlanta side of things, it’s the Trae Young show. You can nitpick his game and defense if you want, but it’s a whole lot more fun to just enjoy how special he is offensively. He doesn’t think twice to pull-up from 30-feet. He’s unafraid to nutmeg a defender and make them look absolutely silly. Lastly, and most importantly, he’s at worst a top-five passer in the NBA.
Speaking on a more general level, expect a whole lot of points tonight. Neither of these team play any defense, and Minnesota just traded their best defender. This figures to be a track meet that’ll keep the scoreboard operator busy.
Projected Lineups (best guess?)