When: 7:00pm CST
TV: Bally Sports North
Radio: 830 WCCO AM Radio
Line: Wolves -9
Following a heart-breaker against Denver on Saturday evening, our beloved Timberwolves are back in action tonight as they host the Orlando Magic. Orlando is in the semi-early stages of a full-on rebuild after being big sellers at the 2021 trade deadline, so it’s important for Minnesota to start fast this evening and take care of business.
For being in the early stage of their rebuild, there’s a decent amount to like about Orlando’s young roster. They’ve got several interesting-to-good young guards and wings, and it seems like the NBA game may finally be slowing down a bit for Mo Bamba as well. They’re not a good team, for sure, but they’re fun if you’re into watching young prospects.
Orlando actually so SO many young guards and wings that we don’t really have enough time to touch on them all here, but Jalen Suggs is the most high-profile and will make his homecoming appearance tonight. Of course, Suggs is a Minneapolis native who spent his lone college season at Gonzaga, where he was an All-American on his way to being the fifth overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. Suggs is off to a slow start (.356 eFG%) as he figures out the NBA game, but there’s obviously still a lot to like there.
Enough about Orlando, though, because this one is really about Minnesota. Orlando is one of maybe three teams in the entire league who really is not trying to win right now.
If the Wolves show up ready to play, they should cruise tonight. While that may seem improbable given the entire history of this franchise, I’m confident that they will come out strong and look better than they did Saturday. The offense is in the mud right now, but tonight is the perfect opportunity to get things going in the right direction on that side of the ball. No disrespect to the Magic, but their defense has basically been a cure-all for opposing offenses thus far.
Magic are bottom 5 in going after Offensive rebounds (crashing frequency) and yet are giving up 1.35 points per on D possessions that start with a defensive rebound. League average is 1.08.— Haralabos Voulgaris (@haralabob) October 31, 2021
This will obviously revert to the mean but wowza.
Going into tonight the Magic had a leagues worst 1.17 Defensive efficiency # and faced the Pistons who had a league worst .94 Offensive Efficiency #— Haralabos Voulgaris (@haralabob) October 31, 2021
Pistons have scored a cool 1.16 this evening and have actually undershot their expected PPS based on the model. Yikes.
So, not to belabor the point, the Magic are really, really bad defensively. It’s been great to see the Wolves play good defense, but it’s time for the offense to start to pick up some of the slack as well. I’m not worried about the offense — there’s too many gifted offensive players on this team for this to continue. It is important that they start playing to their potential on that end soon, though, as this is a winnable stretch of games as long as they’re able to put the ball in the basket.
On that note, I’m looking for big games tonight from Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell. Each have had their moments, but these guys are too good of scorers to shoot as poorly as they have recently. Again, it’s not a concern really, but it’s time for them to turn it around.
I’m looking for a bit of an offensive explosion tonight. Go Wolves.
Minnesota @Timberwolves Status Report in advance of tomorrow's game vs. Orlando:— Timberwolves PR (@Twolves_PR) October 31, 2021
McKinley Wright IV - G League Two-Way
The only Minnesota player unavailable tonight is McKinley Wright, as he’s down in the G-League. As for Orlando, they’re mostly healthy as well, only missing swingman Jonathan Isaac who is still recovering from a torn ACL and meniscus in his left knee.