Questions greatly outnumber answers as we enter closing hours of Preseason and begin the real thing. Here are five of mine pertaining to tonight’s opening tilt versus the Kings of Sacramento:
1) Does a Timberwolf shooting guard steal the show? Of the possible [realistic] subplots to the early Timberwolves schedule, I think Brandon Roy or Alexey Shved (or both!) exceeding expectations would be most beneficial to the team’s hope of making the playoffs. Will Roy resemble his All-NBA self? Will Shved look more like the guy who out-dueled Manu Ginobili on a global stage, or the one who at other times rode the bench when David Blatt saw enough between-the-legs passes for one night?
2) Can the Wolves keep the Kings slashers out of the paint? Tyreke Evans is a bull of a dribble penetrator going to his right. He averaged 20, 5, and 5 as a rookie doing entirely that. Unfortunately for ‘Reke, there is scouting in the NBA and one-trick ponies don’t last. His perceived value has taken a hit, but he remains a threat to score and pass when not properly defended. Also, speedy Kings guard Isaiah Thomas has little trouble breaking down a defense off the dribble. Tonight’s game will be more about help defense than perhaps anything else. Player to be slightly concerned about: Alexey Shved. He loves to jump in passing lanes, which might carry greater risk than reward tonight against a team that needs to be defended “safely.”
3) Will Marcus Thornton “have it going?” Thornton is one of those guys that, on a given night, can be damn-near unstoppable. He’ll shoot 3′s off the dribble, and to a large extent you just have to hope they don’t go in.
4) Derrick Williams versus Thomas Robinson: Who is the better 21-year old forward? We should see at least some of this matchup, head-to-head, in tonight’s game.
5) Pekovic versus Cousins: Who will survive? We know this much:
Should be fun. Check back tomorrow for a recap, and–spoiler alert–some really cool artwork of Pek and Cousins that I convinced a family-member artist to donate to the PDWolves cause. Until then.