Ratke's Top-10 Timberwolves Home Games In 2019-20
The NBA schedule was released on Monday. Of the 41 home games for the Timberwolves in 2019-20, our Kyle Ratke ranked his top-10. What does your list look like?
10. Rematch Of Game 82
Wolves vs. Nuggets, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2:30 p.m.
The best game I’ve ever watched in-person was the final game of the 2017-18 season. In the battle for the eighth seed, the Wolves won in overtime, while the Nuggets went home. Of course, things flipped for the teams last season, but what made this such an interesting matchup is still relevant. Karl-Anthony Towns vs. Nikola Jokic. These guys take this battle personally. This is the second-night of a back-to-back from the Wolves, for whatever that’s worth.
9. RoCo Faces Off Against Shuffled 76ers
Wolves vs. 76ers, Tuesday, Mar. 24, 7 p.m.
In the two games the Wolves played against the 76ers last season, Robert Covington wasn’t able to play in either due to a nasty bone bruise in his knee.
RoCo spent four-plus seasons with the 76ers and was there for the entirety of ‘The Process’. It’s where he emerged as a defensive stud and a 3-point threat after grinding his way in the G League. It’ll be cool to see him interact with his former teammates and coaches before and after the game.
There were some real bonds built with Covington and the 76ers, and that’s how it should be.
I’m also interested to see how this 76ers team looks up close. The rest of the league is going small, the 76ers are doubling down on their size after signing Al Horford this offseason. Zigging when others are zagging sounds cool, but it doesn’t really work out that often. We’ll see if that’s different here.
Will this team really have enough spacing with Horford, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, and without J.J. Redick? My first inclination is no.
8. Stephen Curry, D’Angelo Russell And Draymond Green?
Wolves vs. Warriors, Friday, Nov. 8, 7 p.m.
The real question is whether the Warriors fans will still be Warriors fans after more options in the West might have become more attractive. It is pretty amazing how many Warriors fans apparently grow up in Anoka.
This Warriors team is going to look a lot different in 2019-20. Klay Thompson is going to probably miss the season after tearing his ACL in the FInals. Kevin Durant is with the Nets. Andre Iguodala is with the Grizzlies. DeMarcus Cousins is with the Lakers.
Golden State will rely on Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and newly-acquired D’Angelo Russell. How will all of that look? That’s a great question and what makes this team so intriguing. You could tell me the Warriors sneak in as an eight seed to the playoffs, or they somehow earned the No. 2 seed and I wouldn’t be surprised.
The Wolves have played the Warriors pretty well over the years, having won at least one game in each of the last four seasons against the Warriors.
Put together your top-10 games of the 2019-20 season here.
Wolves vs. Mavericks, Sunday, Mar. 1, 2:30 p.m.
Luka Mania took the NBA by storm last season, and for good reason. The No. 3 pick showed the playmaking abilities that we all hoped he would bring to the NBA. His shot also translated, which led to him being named Rookie of the Year. The 2018 draft class is going to go down in the history books and that all starts with Luka.
Doncic averaged 21.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game as a rookie, and it’s scary to think he’s only 20 years old. While Deandre Ayton and Marvin Bagley look like fine players, any team that passed on Doncic has to be kicking themselves.
Chances are we’ll see plenty of battles between Luka and the Wolves through the years. Get to as many as you can.
6. Kevin Huerter And The Rest Of The Hawks
Wolves vs. Hawks, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 7 p.m.
I am wrong more than I am right. Any person close to me in my life will confirm that. But if you followed our draft coverage heading into last season, you knew one of my favorites players was Kevin Huerter. He was a player who didn’t get much hype in college, but he was a player who could score at all three levels. Would all of that translate? Maybe not, but at the very least, he was going to be able to shoot in the NBA.
In his first season, Huerter looked like the real deal, averaging 9.7 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game, shooting 38.5 percent from the 3-point line.
Trae Young might be the future star of this unit, but Huerter is important to what the Hawks are trying to build in Atlanta.
Even if you don’t like Huerter (what is wrong with you?), the Hawks team has a fun young core with Young, Huerter, De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish.
5. Zion’s First Trip To Target Center
Wolves vs. Pelicans, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 7 p.m.
A unique blend of strength and athleticism, Williamson is the most-hyped prospect to entire the league since LeBron James. Of course, everything in the NBA is earned and he hasn’t even started his NBA career yet.
I am intrigued on how Williamson’s skillset will translate to the NBA. In the NBA, he’ll have players who can match his strength and/or speed. Williamson isn’t a great shooter, but he is a great playmaker for others, probably the most underrated part of his game.
After trading Anthony Davis, we thought the Pelicans might be in a rebuild. But it seems like the opposite. With Williams, Jrue Holiday, Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram as a core, this team has a good chance to compete for a playoff spot.
4. A Night Of Harden & Russ
Wolves vs. Rockets, Saturday, Nov. 16, 7:00 p.m.
There is only one ball allowed on the court in a basketball game. That's what will make the Russell Westbrook/James Harden experiment so entertaining, for better or worse, in Houston.
I guess that's also what we said when the team acquired Chris Paul, too, and had it not been for a Paul hamstring injury in the 2018 Western Conference Finals, the Rockets probably have another championship ring.
But intsead, Paul is now in Oklahoma City and the Rockets have extended their window.
The Rockets are in nearly every talk to acquire a star, whether it's realistic or not. It's early, but that's something Gersson Rosas is bringing to Minnesota -- finding creative ways to improve a roster. That's what made the Rockets, with the help of Rosas, to make them so competitive over the years.
The Wolves' backcourt defense will have to be at its best in this one.
3. The Only Look At LeBron And AD
Wolves vs. Lakers, Monday, Mar. 30, 7 p.m.
Target Center will get to see LeBron James and Anthony Davis just once in 2019-20, and that comes late in the season.
The first season with LeBron in Los Angeles was a failure, The Lakers didn't make the playoffs and there was plenty of drama behind the scenes.
The Lakers, predictably, traded their young core (literally like all of them) to acquire Anthony Davis.
Do the Lakers have enough depth? Ehhhh. We'll see.
This is a fun matchup for the Wolves, though. Towns vs. Davis. Covington guarding James.
And a fun fact: In 18 career games against the Lakers, Andrew Wiggins is averaging 23.3 points per game. That's more than a three-point increase from his career average.
2. Wolves Get First Look at Kawhi, PG13 And New-Look Clippers
Wolves vs. Clippers, Friday, Dec. 13, 7 p.m.
There I was in my Las Vegas hotel, ready to go to bed on July 6. It's around 1 a.m. and my phone starts to explode, which is weird because it's 3 a.m. in Minnesota and I don't have anyone who would be texting me that late.
It wasn't a text. It was a tweet. And it wasn't a friend. It was Woj. He alerted me, and the rest of the world, that the Clippers were going to sign Kawhi Leonard and trade for Paul George, instantly becoming the favorites to win the 2019-20 championship.
This should be a fun matchup for everyone involved.
1. Butler Returns To Target Center In Wolves’ Home Opener
Wolves vs. Heat, Sunday, Oct. 27, 6 p.m.
What a coincidence! The Timberwolves just happen to play against a former player who they traded last season. A total coincidence indeed!
Of course, this isn't a coincidence at all. Jimmy Butler now plays for the Heat after agreeing to a sign and trade deal via Philadelphia.
Both the Timberwolves and Butler have flipped to new chapters and while everyone will say it's just another game, for fans, it isn't. That's what makes sports fun. The matchups, the stories, and sometimes, the drama.
Get seats to this one while you can.
You can view the full schedule here.