A bloodbath is imminent. For those of you talking yourself into Flip’s antiquated offense, tonight will be the worst possible juxtaposition to support your theories. 1st to worst in 3 point attempts, with a difference of nearly 19 3 attempts per game (32.9 HOU vs. 14.2 MIN), and a much more palatable 3rd to 11th in free throw attempts. The Rockets are the epitome of the “modern NBA offense.” These are, of course, extremes on both ends of the spectrum. The Rockets may take the 3 pointer one or two steps too far, yet it remains comical to hear Flip try to convince his fans that he “loves 3 pointers” when it is painfully obvious he places little value in the attempt. Expect that 9-4 Rockets run in 3 and 4 possessions to put a halt to a Wolves run because it is going to happen. However, this subject has been dissected ad nauseum to start the season, so let’s move on to other topics.
It has been five days since Rubio sprained his ankle, so he is already well on the way to recovery. The mood when Ricky went down was understandably somber. Chatter quieted on our forums, and the mood was far less enthused. A few friendly reminders that are designed to lift your spirits:
1. If Ricky misses roughly six weeks of action and returns for the 12/21 game vs. the Pacers at Target Center, he will have missed 20 games. This is obviously a lot of games, but consider that Ricky will then have 57 games (more than 2/3 of the season) to find his groove and give us a picture of what is ahead for this team. This is not a blown knee or a season ending injury, so remember the big picture here. Ankle sprains always look terrible when they occur and, especially after seeing Paul George’s leg break late this summer, tend to draw out the harshest of comparisons. He could also return before that point. We should find out more early next week as this team continues its monotonous Wednesday/Friday/Saturday schedule for a few more weeks.
2. Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, Zach LaVine, Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng are still on this team. All five are prospects worthy of your attention and the next few weeks will ideally feature them prominently in the rotation. It is interesting and telling what Rubio injuries due to the mentality of the fan base and the team. It’s almost as if it completely justifies signing him to a four-year extension that was a little pricier than many thought he was worth per dollar. In any case, it will hopefully be a solid month of straight player development something that I think is safe to say most fans ultimately want out of this season after a little too many veteran minutes in the early part of it. Not to sound like a media cliche’, but “guys will have to step up.” Now would also be a great time to play Glenn Robinson III. Given Flip’s applaudable decision to start LaVine immediately, I suspect and hope he will follow suit in that regard.
It will be interesting to see how Flip elects to cover James Harden and Trevor Ariza. Ariza, thought to see a drop in production after securing a new contract (a trend that his followed him for his entire career) has had an excellent start to the season. He is averaging near a career best 14.6 PPG and connecting on three triples per game while providing sound defensive support to a notoriously porous back court. Do you keep Wiggins out on him as a quicker defender to soften his 3 point game? Or do you stick him on Harden, Houston’s clear most formidable offensive threat?
The Wolves have surprised many by staying competitive in nearly every game this season. Tonight looks to be an eye-opener in that regard playing against a top 3 team in the league to start the year. The Wolves will again start two 19 year olds. Keep an eye out for as many silver linings as you can.