Last week, we broke down the moves the Minnesota Timberwolves made so far this offseason, and the Wolves haven’t made any additional moves since then. And with the NBA season starting in less than a month, the offseason is pretty much over.
There hasn’t been much new to report other than the preseason schedule being released and a player who surprised many last season signing with a new team.
Let’s break it down:
Preseason Schedule Released
The NBA released a limited preseason schedule given the shortened season and the strive to minimize COVID exposure for all teams.
The Timberwolves will play three preseason games.
- Dec. 12 vs. the Memphis Grizzlies at Target Center
- Dec. 14 vs. Memphis at Target Center
- Dec. 17 vs. the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Arena
My guess is that coach Ryan Saunders will treat at least six of those 12 quarters as regular season minutes. While there are some familiar faces coming back to the Wolves this season, we have to remember that the trio of Karl-Anthony Towns, Malik Beasley and D’Angelo Russell played just one game together last season.
We’ll likely figure out who Saunders plans to start the season in the first game, because there won’t be a lot of time to toy around with lineups. My guess is that we’ll see Russell, Beasley, Josh Okogie, Juan Hernangomez and Towns starting, with Ricky Rubio, Anthony Edwards, Jarrett Culver, Jake Layman and Ed Davis coming off the bench.
The timeline is also pretty tough for any fringe player to make a good impression during the beginning of the season.
Something to keep an eye on early in the season: Injuries. It’s something we saw in the NFL with limited training camp and no preseason. I’m guessing we’ll see something similar to start the NBA season, especially with 22 teams having a rushed offseason after playing in the bubble.
Hopefully I’m wrong.
Martin To The Pacers, But What About J-Mac?
Kelan Martin signed a two-year deal with the Indiana Pacers after one season with the Timberwolves. As a 24-year-old rookie last season, Martin averaged 6.4 points and 3.1 rebounds per game while shooting 39.2% from the field and 26% from the 3-point line.
Not great numbers, but Martin looked the part, and there’s no doubt that those numbers will increase with more minutes.
It’s a reunion of sorts for Martin, who played at Butler from 2014-18.
There was a collective “good for him!” moment on Twitter after Martin’s signing was announced. It was clear that Martin wasn’t coming back to Minnesota with the team already having so many wing players on the roster.
The question now is what will happen with Jordan McLaughlin. Heading into free agency, I really thought that McLaughlin would earn a back-up point guard spot somewhere in the NBA. If he comes back with the Wolves, it will be in a third point guard spot which has to be disappointing for him considering over the last 15 games last season, he averaged 10 points and 5.1 assists per game while shooting 55.2% from the field and 41.5% from the 3-point line.
As a Timberwolves fan, you probably want McLaughlin back. As a McLaughlin fan, however, you probably want him to get a bigger opportunity elsewhere.