[Thanks to Mitch of The Bulls Show for today's game preview -yfbb]
The Minnesota Timberwolves roll into the United Center this afternoon looking to snap a two game losing streak after starting the season with two road wins vs. Western Conference powerhouses Los Angeles and Denver. Recent losses to Portland and Miami put them at .500 on the season.
The rebuilding Wolves are well, really really rebuilding as nine of the 15 Wolves are within their 1st three years of play according to Canis Hoopus. This hasn't stopped them from rolling out not one, but two Kirk Hinrichs in their starting lineup in 39-year old Kevin Garnett and 35-year old Tayshaun Prince. I guess you can't put a value on veteran leadership.
But you can but a value on on-court production and for Garnett and Prince and that value is pretty low. One main issues with them seems to be that are both refusing to shoot the ball, coming in at a paltry 8.9% and 6.7% usage respectively; good for five made field goals between them in 140 of total minutes. The shooting burden in the starting lineup has fallen to young Andrew Wiggins, whose new role as go to scorer on the team has produced a set of horrid shooting performances to start off the young season. Wiggins is shooting 29.3% from the field and overall is looking at a 39.9% true shooting percentage, which is worse than our struggling Derrick Rose.
At least Garnett and Prince are playing limited minutes, as the Wolves rotation has stayed long in the young season. Ten Timberwolves are playing over eight minutes a game, including Kevin Martin, the most fake traded player to the Bulls in Blog-a-Bull history. Like all of the Wolves, Martin is shooting like crap from the three, but is leading the team in scoring from a reserve role.
The Belle of the Ball for the Wolves has been Ricky Rubio, who has been an offensive machine of the Wolves, sporting a 26.64 PER, 10th in the league. This is clearly a product of learning from Professor Andre Miller who is without a doubt 100% responsible for the rise of guys like John Wall, Brandon Roy, and Ty Lawson. The Professor is doing it again.
Maybe the antidote for the Wolves is some of the defense the Bulls flashed in Charlotte, as they gave up a cool 130 to offensive luminaries such as Jeremy Lamb, Spencer Hawes, P.J Hariston, and Jeremy Lin. The Hornets were basically real life NBA Jam when they played the Bulls a few days back, connecting on 14 treys at a 60% clip and earning 23 trips to the line, in which they hit 22. Luckily Minnesota currently ranks dead last in league in three pointers made and three pointers attempted. On the bright side, they are only 29th in the league in three point percentage. On the bright side, Minnesota does tend to get to the line a ton, ranking 1st in free throws attempted.
The Bulls seemed to right the ship coming back home to defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder, but the team was coming off an early season scheduling hiccup, as the Bulls game was OKC's fourth game in five nights. Here's to hoping attack minded Derrick that finished the Thunder is here to stay.
After the Wolves game, in which they are large -9.5 favorites today, the Bulls continue their streak of winnable games against Philly (welcome home Jahlil), Charlotte (revenge is a dish best served cold), and Indy (i don't have anything here) before they face off with the human death march formally as the Golden State Warriors. But fear not Bulls fans, remember what happened last time your heroes went to Oakland?