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Wolves vs Clippers: A Fresh Start

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The Wolves new cast makes their first appearance tonight

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Denver Nuggets Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Wolves vs Clippers

7:00pm CST

FS North

Well, I have no idea what to expect tonight. There’s pretty much an entirely new team that’ll be out on the floor for our beloved Minnesota Timberwolves, so it’s hard to really gauge how things might go.

With that being said, I’m expecting to enjoy watching a Timberwolves basketball game, which isn’t something I’ve been able to say for quite awhile. The Clippers are still a brutal matchup for the Wolves, but that’s true for pretty much any team in the league. To this point, the Clippers have played roughly 13 of their season without EITHER of Paul George or Kawhi Leonard on the floor. They’re still in the running for the top spot in the West despite that. This team is an absolute juggernaut.

The rest of the season isn’t about wins and losses for the Wolves, though. That may be a convenient shift of expectations for the front office, because this new cast is still likely to lose a lot of games. The real focus will be on figuring out which of these new guys should stick around, as well as how much they’re going to be willing to pay Malik Beasley and Juancho Hernangomez in Restricted Free Agency.

Outside of wins and losses, it’s going to be much more aesthetically pleasing to watch this band of the Wolves.

They now have a legitimate point guard who can both direct traffic AND shoot at a All-Star-ish level, while forming what should be a lethal pick-and-roll combination with Karl-Anthony Towns. That’s what D’Angelo Russell should bring.

They also, now, have a legitimate threat from the wing to score from all three levels. Malik Beasley is so fascinating to me, and I can’t wait to see if and/or how he capitalizes on this opportunity. He’s such a good shooter, and I think there’s quite a bit of potential off-the-dribble as well. He’s the most intriguing addition to me.

I’m also really intrigued to see what James Johnson looks like next to Karl-Anthony Towns. They’ve never really had a player like him on the roster. He’s so strong yet versatile. I can’t say he’s probably a big part of their future, but it’d be good to find out if a player in his archetype would fit well next to the franchise cornerstone.

Lastly, I’m just excited to see some capable shooters be the ones bombing away from deep. To this point, the Wolves have been launching threes without the personnel to do it. Now, they have much better options around Karl-Anthony Towns.

I really expect there to be a ton of points tonight. The new-look Wolves should be strong offensively once they mesh a bit, but the defense is still going to be awful. David Vanterpool certainly has his work cut out for him on that end. Anyways, here’s to a fresh start and some new hope.

NOTE: D’Angelo Russell has been declared out for tonight’s game due to a quad injury. So we’ll have to wait for his Timberwolves debut.

Projected Lineups

Clippers

Landry Shamet

Paul George

Kawhi Leonard

Jamychal Green

Ivica Zubac

Wolves (complete guess)

Josh Okogie

Malik Beasley

Jarrett Culver

James Johnson

Karl-Anthony Towns