3 Takeaways From Timberwolves' Season-Opener Thriller
The Wolves opened the 2019-20 season with a win in Brooklyn and my goodness gracious, what a win it was.
Minnesota won 127-126 in overtime.
There were a lot of positives in the game. Josh Okogie shut down Kyrie Irving on the final possession even after Irving did some sort of slip-and-slide thing that we aren’t sure was intentional or not.
There are so many things to take away from that game. But because we’re busy and you’re busy and you know, life, we’ve narrowed it down to three.
Karl-Anthony Towns Is Going To Have A Monster Season
What a game from Towns. His final stat line was 36 points, 14 rebounds, three blocks, three assists and three steals. He shot 11-for-22 from the field and 7-for-11 from the 3-point line.
Offensively, Towns is as gifted as a player you’ll find in the NBA. Some of his 3-point shots were just ridiculous. It was clear Jarrett Allen really had no idea how to defend Towns.
Do I step up and take away the 3-pointer? But what if he drives by me? Okay. I’ll give him a step. OKAY BAD IDEA! HOW DO YOU DO THIS?!
Towns is so dangerous because when he gets any space from deep, he’s a threat to nail the shot. And when he pulls the opposing big man out of the paint, that opens so many things up for the team’s offense.
Defensively, Towns was disciplined and stayed down on a lot of shot attempts, using his length to block and not foul. He did finish with five fouls, but what we saw from Towns, especially early in the game, is extremely promising.
If you were lucky enough to land Towns on your fantasy basketball team, good job by you.
Treveon Graham Is Really Strong And Does The Little Things This Team Needs
The Wolves made Treveon Graham, who spent last season with the Nets, their fifth starter in their opener.
While he might not be super well-known among fans, I have a feeling you'll get to know him rather quickly.
Graham’s stats don’t jump off the page. In nearly 35 minutes, he finished with nine points, six rebounds, four assists and a steal. But down the stretch, he did so many little things for the Wolves and it’s probably fair to say they wouldn’t have won without him.
Take this place with 3:38 left in overtime when the Wolves were down one. He turned a Nets fastbreak into a Wolves and-one.
If I’m showing a young kid how to play with effort, I’m showing this clip 20 times per day.
This entire sequence from Treveon Graham last night is just ridiculous. pic.twitter.com/erNx83xHro
— Kyle Ratke (@Kyle_Ratke) October 24, 2019
With Taj Gibson gone, there were fair questions of who would do the little stuff that doesn’t get much credit, but is necessary. Graham is a pretty good candidate to fill that role.
OT Wiggins Was Real
I know, I know. Andrew Wiggins didn’t have a great night shooting the ball. He was 10-for-27 from the field and 0-for-4 from the 3-point line. It surely wasn’t his best night, but he was at his best when the Wolves needed him the most.
In the fourth quarter and overtime, Wiggins was 4-for-6 and had eight points. He gave the Wolves a one-point lead with 1:19 left after a layup and put them up three with 52 seconds left with a 7-foot floater.
When Wiggins and Towns play in the pick-and-roll with Wiggins as the primary ball-handler, Wiggins is able to get downhill faster. It’s no secret he’s at his best when he’s attacking the rim.
There are shots the coaching staff will steer Wiggins away from taking and he’ll be the first to admit his efficiency needs to go up. But if you’re going to complain about how he played early in the game, you also have to give him credit for how well he played at the end.
The Wolves are back at it on Friday night against the Hornets in Charlotte at 6 p.m. CT.