The 4th Google Image Result for "David Lee Fail" and thus the obvious photo pick.
After a gut-crushing Kemba Walker game winner the other night, the Wolves take on the undermanned Warriors tonight at Target Center, the last game in a busy stretch before an extended break through next Wednesday. The Warriors are not a very good team, but the Wolves will still have quite the mountain to climb to emerge victorious, with the amount of injuries to date still remaining comical. Don't look now, but the Warriors are a quiet 4-4 and remain a concern for the playoff race down the stretch. As such, this is a quasi must-win statement game, even if it is early in the season. Some bullets:
-Josh Howard's debut. Josh Howard is officially signed, sealed and delivered. He naturally passed his physical this morning, which is clearly quite the task for our training staff, who would likely clear Betty White for major minutes with the Wolves (I can hear Gregg Farnam yelling to Adelman now, "Hey Coach! She's good to go!"). What does he have left in the tank? Can he provide size and defense off the bench? Can he shoot better than Wes Johnson could have? I am intrigued, and it might be the most interesting story line of the evening. If for any reason than to provide closure on 9-years of bitterness for the notorious selection of Ndudi Ebi.
Perimeter D and Alternate Dimensions/Universes. Malcolm Lee again has a sizable test tonight, guarding Klay Thompson and/or Steph Curry. With David Lee not exactly blowing out the box scores early on in the season, the Warriors will rely on their back court for much of the scoring load. Lee's pesky, annoying efforts on D are going to be a big key to maintaining the possibility of a victory. There is an alternate universe with Curry (being correctly picked over national boob Jonny Flynn) on the Wolves and Mark Jackson coaching the squad, which is notable, especially if you are trying to make a game preview a little bit longer in length. If you really want to get deep on the alternate universe theory, perhaps there is even one where Kahn flips Love to Golden State for Anthony Randolph and a pick (as was actually rumored), and then signs David Lee in 2010. Kahn did, after all, bring him to town when he was a free agent and took him to a Twins game. Can you bloody imagine? While Kahn did a helluva job this summer, this man is still your President of Basketball Operations.
-Rookie Spotlight: Harrison Barnes. Speaking of alternate universes, there is certainly one where Harrison Barnes ended up entering the 2011 draft and was picked by the Wolves over Derrick Williams at #2. Cripes, you are looking at a situation where the Wolves could have had nearly the same exact core as the Warriors do today. Prior to the draft, Barnes had been hailed by some as a bust-in the making, not exactly demonstrating an ability to score efficiently at the NBA level. Thus far, Barnes isn't scoring a tremendous amount, just under 10 a game, but his shooting percentages are sound in 8 games. He has shown he can adjust his game to the NBA level, not being a focal point of the offense, and remains the most intriguing player to watch on the GS roster.
-Steemer Redemption. The other night, Greg played a terrible game and there is no other way to put it. Let's root for Greg to make the most of his extended minutes and dominate the interior D, helping D-Will contain David Lee. It might be interesting for Rick to keep Stiemsma on Lee for defensive reasons, allowing D-Will to guard the offensively inept Festus Ezeli, filling in for the oft-injured Andrew Bogut.
-Prediction. In a vacuum, the Wolves will win this game. However, the problem with having basically every one of your consistent scorers out means one must rely on bench players to will the win. The Wolves' woefully up and down shooting percentages have been an issue to date, and should they fall into another 5-6 minute rut with no FG's, Golden State will run away with the win. If the Wolves can stay consistent, they will win. If not, it likely will not be pretty. Get well soon, everyone.