The Wolves are in Sioux Falls this evening for a bout with their neighbors in the Eastern Conference: the Milwaukee Bucks.
The biggest storyline heading into this game (from a Minnesota perspective) is facing former Timberwolves guard Luke Ridnour. Ridnour was shipped to Milwaukee this offseason in a three-team deal that netted the Wolves Kevin Martin.
During Luke's time in Minnesota he was a consummate professional and did anything asked of him, mainly playing off the ball as the team's starting shooting guard. That meant that night in and night out he was facing the likes of Kobe Bryant, James Harden, Manu Ginobili, Dwyane Wade and a number of other, much bigger and stronger shooting guards.
Ridnour is now back in Milwaukee where he played from 2008-2010, as a mentor for a young Brandon Jennings (who now plays in Detroit).
Ridnour is heading back to Milwaukee, but it's a completely different team from the one he was a part of just a few years ago. Gone is Scott Skiles, Brandon Jennings and Andrew Bogut. However, there is A LOT of NBA talent on this roster. I'm actually a pretty big fan of their starting lineup: Brandon Knight, O.J. Mayo, Caron Butler, Ersan Ilyasova and Larry Sanders (or LARRY SANDERS! as he's known on Twitter).
O.J. Mayo was third on my list of shooting guards I was hoping the Wolves would sign this summer. The first was Kevin Martin and the second was J.J. Redick. I think Martin is great now, but I worry about him being paid big money until he's 34-years-old.
Tonight is the second game of a back-to-back set for the Wolves so it will be interesting to see how much the starters play (after they all averaged 22-26 minutes last night) and if this will give some of the guys we haven't seen much of (or at all) increased playing time. Through two games, we have yet to see Chris Johnson take the floor. We've also only seen 6 minutes apiece from both Shabazz Muhammad and Robbie Hummel (all in the first game), Gorgui Dieng has played 12 minutes (all last night), Lorenzo Brown has played 17 minutes (all last night), A.J. Price has played 19 minutes (all in the first game) and Othyus Jeffers has played a combined 24 minutes (20 in the first game and another 4 last night). Both J.J. Barea & Dante Cunningham played 22 minutes last night after missing the first game, I'd expect them to see about the same tonight.
The last big note is the status of shooting guard Kevin Martin. Martin played only 6 minutes last night before returning to the bench, where he'd stay for the remainder of the night. We found out late in the second half that he had a sore achilles tendon and was sitting out as a "precautionary" measure, stating after the game, that he simply wants to be 100% healthy to begin the regular season.
If Martin is unable (or decides not) to play, expect Alexey Shved to get the start at shooting guard and (hopefully) we'll see more minutes for rookies Shabazz Muhammad & Robbie Hummel.
That's all for now, this one will tip at 7pmCT, Enjoy the game!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!