It feels good to be back, doesn’t it? After a long, treacherous season of baseball and a drama filled football season up here in the land of 10,000 lakes, it feels refreshing to have the NBA back on television. We were treated last night to a couple great games last night. The Boston Celtics took it straight to the Miami Heat and defeated the team that was thought to be unbeatable. And the L.A. Lakers were crowned World Champs before beating the Houston Rockets by only the slimmest of margins.
But enough of that talk; It’s Timberwolves time.
Tonight dawns the start of the 2010-2011 season for both the Wolves and the Kings. With 2,000 more season ticket holders than last season, the Wolves are hoping to pack the Target Center tonight for what should be an exciting, fast paced game. The new-look Timberwolves now have speed and athleticism on their side and will look to use it tonight. Luke Ridnour starts his first regular season game for the Wolves tonight, looking to man the ship and take charge of our fast break attacks. More importantly, last year the Wolves didn’t have anyone capable of making plays on the fast break, or even in the half court for that matter. But with a revamped wing rotation made up of Michael Beasley, Wesley Johnson, and Corey Brewer (Martell Webster is out 4-6 weeks after having surgery on his back) the Wolves should be running in full force, putting the Kings on their heels.
But the Kings are no pushover. After finishing last season 25-57, the Kings’ front office made some roster moves and have created a team worth noting. A new line of big men will play to the Kings’ favor tonight, as well as the rest of the season. They traded for the lengthy Samuel Dalembert (He’s out tonight) and moved Carl Landry from power forward to small forward. They also still have the talented Jason Thompson coming off the bench. The biggest roster splash — and I mean HUGE — was when the Kings drafted DeMarcus Cousins with the 5th overall pick in this summer’s draft. Cousins plays with a lot of intensity and is the most fundamentally sound big man of the 2010 draft class. Cousins will be a load to stop inside and he’s all about efficiency, something the Wolves struggled with last season — the Wolves ranked 27th in the league last season in defensive efficiency.
But as I said earlier, if the Wolves are able to get in the game flow that they prefer — running and gunning — the Kings will be pressed to run with us. And without Rookie of the Year, Tyreke Evans on the court, — he was suspended one game for his speeding incident this summer, — the Kings lack a go-to scorer that isn’t a big man. The Wolves want this to be a fast-paced, uptempo kind of game, which I believe plays into our favor. The score will be high and close and the deciding factor will ultimately be who plays better in the half-court — although the Kings have the favor there. Nonetheless, the NBA season is starting and I couldn’t be more excited. Strap up and enjoy the ride!