What To Watch For
So on my drive home I was pondering on what to write for this. I hopped in a Spurs Twitter Spaces session with my good friend Noah Magaro-George over at Pounding the Rock, the SBNation Spurs site, and in an ironic way, they were having all of the conversations the Timberwolves fan base is having.
You know, Lonnie Walker or Jaylen Nowell should play over Derrick White or Malik Beasley, why are Leandro Bolmaro or Josh Primo playing in the G-League, we should/should not be trading for Ben Simmons. This was a fun reminder that both teams are in a very similar spot where their talent doesn’t match their record and they’re in a weird spot where they could either go for it or rebuild around their youth. Sure, the destinations to get to this spot were dramatically different but the parallels between the team, even their records are there.
What that means is like Minnesota and Malik Beasley, Derrick White is a guy to watch out for due to his three point shooting being dramatically lower than normal. The team’s game is due to catch up to their talent and that could start tonight with the return of starting center and defensive anchor Jakob Poeltl.
On a Minnesota specific note, the team has played at a higher effort level for two straight games and this is the second game of a back to back. Will they be the flat, miserable looking crew we saw in the last Los Angeles Clippers blowout or can they string three consecutive high effort games and potentially turn the corner? The Spurs, as Tristan Thompson says, are still trying to figure it out like Minnesota, and as that suggests they’re definitely a beatable team, Minnesota just needs to bring the game to them.
Tristan Thompson says the Timberwolves have names but that they’re trying to figure their roster out and might not want to win games.— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) November 18, 2021
Minnesota @Timberwolves Status Report in advance of tonight’s game vs. San Antonio:— Timberwolves PR (@Twolves_PR) November 18, 2021
Josh Okogie - Back Spasms
Naz Reid - Right Foot Soreness
McKinley Wright IV - G League Two-Way
Naz Reid is a game-time decision tonight. Finch admitted Reid (right foot soreness) didn’t look great last night.— Chris Hine (@ChristopherHine) November 18, 2021
Full Injury Report via Spurs PR as Jock Landale remains out due to H&S protocols pic.twitter.com/cHz2pX2PjF— Ty Jäger (@TheTyJager) November 18, 2021
Naz Reid did look like his foot was bothering him a fair amount last game and Minnesota has a relatively packed schedule over the next week playing every other day and capping it off with a back to back. It could reasonably make sense to sit him tonight and give him two days of rest before they play Memphis on Saturday. Jakob Poeltl was initially rule out for reconditioning but was changed to available with the pregame announcement. There is a chance that he is on a minutes restriction and that would help Minnesota’s offense out. Aside from Poeltl, it looks like the regulars for San Antonio are all good to go.
If I had to make a prediction for this game, I’d lean towards Minnesota. Call me biased, but if both teams are struggling with similar things (basketball in general), it may come down to the most talented team and that, my friends, is the team that has Jordan McLaughlin on it.