Minnesota is going to be a fascinating team to watch this season, just because coach Flip Saunders has a lot of options with his rotation. He has said he plans to start Kevin Garnett at the four, then when he rests they can go with Gorgui Dieng or small with Shabazz Muhammad.
Then at the five there’s a solid scoring big in Nikola Pekovic who was an anchor up front until he got injured, and now there’s No. 1 pick Karl-Anthony Towns who needs time at that spot.
Well, Pek is still hurt. And we have another guy who isn’t bad in Gorgui Dieng.
First off, no coach is going to answer that question in August, unless the question is “do you still plan to start LeBron James?” If a coach can create competition in camp to push guys, he’s going to do just that.
But as mentioned above, Saunders has options. He can start KG and Towns, and then go small off the bench with Dieng and Muhammad. Then he can mix and match early in the season to see what pairings work and in what situation. As the last couple NBA Finals champs have shown us, versatility matters.
There is one other Timberwolves question that influences all of this: Do they have enough shooting to give these bigs space to work? Opponents will be more than happy to let Ricky Rubio, Zach LaVine, Andrew Wiggins, and maybe even Kevin Martin (he’s got to prove he’s healthy) to beat you from the perimeter, or especially from three. The Timberwolves are not exactly loaded with shooters.
Minnesota is going to be a fascinating team to watch next season, for a few reasons.
Michael Jordan (and a kid) beat Jimmy Butler in shooting contest (VIDEO)
I’m not sure Michael Jordan beats Jimmy Butler in a game of one-on-one (although I would pay to see that), but in a shooting contest with some youth campers, I’ll put my money on guy with the statue in front of United Center.
I’d pay more money to be in that kid’s shoes and part of the shooting contest.
Why were Butler and Jordan working a camp together? Because Butler joined the Jordan Brand this year. So they will be hanging out more.
And if you don’t think Jordan is going to bring this up every time they get together, you don’t know Jordan.
The NBA played its first ever game in Africa Saturday and the players put on a show — it felt like an All-Star style exhibition, with little defense and lots of room for guys to show off their skills.
Giannis Antetokounmpo did try to play a little defense, tracking down Evan Turner to look for the block on the fast break, only to see Turner make a sweet dish to the trailing Bradley Beal. And Beal knew how to finish.
Justin Anderson never really found his groove in three years at Virginia, at least not like was expected out of high school where he was one of the top recruits in his class.
Then he certainly found it at Summer League in Las Vegas last month — he averaged 17.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.2 steals and hit 38.5 percent from three.
Anderson and the Mavericks agreed to the standard rookie contract deal with Anderson on Saturday, the team announced. He is guaranteed $2.5 million over the next two years, with team options for years three and four.
Anderson could see a little time on the court as a rookie, especially early in the Dallas season as Wesley Matthews tries to get his groove back following Achilles surgery. It was just Summer League, but Anderson looked like a guy who could give a team spot minutes right away as a rookie.