Writer’s Note: Before the Wolves play Ra’anana, an Israeli basketball club, I want to take a moment to acknowledge the current atrocities that are ongoing in Israel and the Gaza Strip. It has been a horrifying scene with terrible war crimes that are being committed against both innocent Palestinian and Israeli civilians. This ongoing conflict is one that far predates what has occurred in the past several weeks. I have been grieving in anguish over the continued loss of lives that continues to rack up at a disgusting rate. It is hard to be excited about the small world of sports while there are much more important events that are happening. I truly hope everyone who has been affected by these events, and the history behind them, is able to find solace in whatever ways they can. I am here with you.
- Who: Minnesota Timberwolves (3-0) vs Maccabi Ra’anana (0-2)
- When: 7:00 p.m. CT
- Where: Target Center
- TV: Bally Sports North
- Radio: Wolves Radio App
UPDATED AS OF TUESDAY, OCTOBER 17
Tonight’s @Timberwolves starters vs. Maccabi Ra’anana:— Timberwolves PR (@Twolves_PR) October 17, 2023
Clark - Right Achilles Tendon Rupture Rehab
Krejčí - Left Hand Injury
McDaniels - Left Calf Strain
What To Watch For
Chris Finch announced that he would not be deploying the “top eight or nine” players of his rotation for regular minutes, if at all. So what does that mean? The top nine players in minutes played through three preseason games include:
- Anthony Edwards (22.2)
- Rudy Gobert (20.6)
- Karl-Anthony Towns (20.6)
- Jaden McDaniels (19.3)
- Kyle Anderson (19.2)
- Nickeil Alexander-Walker (18.5)
- Shake Milton (18.4)
- Naz Reid (17.3)
- Troy Brown Jr. (17.2)
Finch didn’t clarify if that meant McDaniels is included in that list, but he is still out for the rest of preseason due to his “minor” calf injury. If you take him out of the picture, the next player in line would be recently turned 36-year-old, Mike Conley Jr. He probably won’t be playing. That conveniently leaves a “bottom 10” of:
- Wendell Moore Jr.
- Josh Minott
- Jordan McLaughlin
- Matt Ryan
- Luka Garza
- Leonard Miller
- Vít Krejčí
- Trevor Keels
- Daishen Nix
- Tyrese Martin
As someone who is an avid consumer of summer league and G-League basketball, count me in as someone who is excited to see the Tenacious Ten take to the court.
Battle for the Final Two-Way Contract
The Wolves technically have three two-way contracts rostered. Luka Garza, Jaylen Clark, and Matt Ryan. That said, there was a bit of confusion a few weeks ago regarding if Ryan actually secured the third and final spot. This, plus Ryan’s uninspiring play so far as a three-point specialist, would leave me to believe that Tim Connelly could still make some final roster adjustments around the edge.
So who would be a candidate to snatch that spot?
Obviously there’s a lot that happens behind closed doors in practice. However, based on what we have seen from preseason action, it appears Krejčí and Nix may be the top candidates. Krejčí, a 6’4” Czech guard, played well in his lone appearance versus the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday by contributing some game sealing plays. Meanwhile, Nix has gotten run in two preseason games and has a couple years of NBA experience.
This may not impact Minnesota’s final season outcome, but preseason is still an opportunity for these young men to try and make their dreams come true.
UPDATE: Krejčí is not active due to a left hand injury.
The Three M’s — Moore, Minott, Miller
The trio of pups should get plenty of opportunities to cut their teeth against some international competition. The two second-year players, Wendell Moore Jr. and Josh Minott, have had their fair share of ups and downs in their young careers. Each had promising, albeit brief, flashes during their rookie years as well as during the 2023 Las Vegas Summer League.
Will Moore be able to display any juice as a play initiator, shooter, and/or defender?
Can Minott maintain a consistent level of production while remaining under control?
The talent is certainly there. Speaking of talent, let’s not forget Leonard Miller. The 19-year-old has already enticed fans with his potential in just three and a half months as a Timberwolf. Miller remains a bit of a “mystery box,” but it appears to be a question of how many things he’ll be good at, not if he’ll be good at any. Is his shooting, despite his wonky form, for real? Can his rebounding still translate at the next level? Will he have chances to show off his grab & go ability?
- Leonard Miller throws a no-look lob to Josh Minott who throws down a two-handed windmill. Jaden McDaniels celebrates by doing burpees, quelling any fears of his calf injury. Then he signs a life-time contract with the Wolves.
- Wolves remain undefeated, 118-99.