Game 1 Preview: Sacramento Kings (0-1) vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (0-0)

Expect a battle from these two, as the injury-riddled Wolves open their season against Sacramento.


When Last We Met

April 2, 2012. Sacramento won 116-108. As the Wolves slipped and slid their way to the end of the season, Sacramento took advantage at home. Tyreke Evans led Sacramento in scoring, rebounds and assists, 24-10-7 respectively.

New Faces

Thomas Robinson: Sacramento’s fifth pick in the NBA Draft, Thomas Robinson appears to be the future for the Kings at power forward. At 6’9 and 245 lbs, he already looks the part of an NBA player. He looked fairly uninspiring in his NBA debut, tallying just 3 points on 1-5 shooting, but as he acclimates to the NBA game, Robinson could become a darkhorse Rookie of the Year candidate, as he’s a perfect fit for Sacramento.

James Johnson: Playing for his fourth NBA team in three years, James Johnson gets minutes mainly for his defense. He is mediocre shooter (.504 TS% for his career), but he uses his size well defensive (6’9 small forward). Johnson does a good job of using his size and athleticism to his advantage defensively, making life harder on smaller forwards.

Aaron Brooks: On the one hand, you have to feel for a guy who had unrealistic expectations placed on him after winning the Most Improved Player award in 2010. On the other hand, when a guy shoots 3 for 10 from the floor and you come away thinking “Huh, Brooks wasn’t as bad as usual tonight,” well…you know.

Reason for Optimism

The Kings could be good eventually. But for what feels like forever, they’ve been going through growing pains, and once again in ’12-’13, they will have to try to work through an identity crisis of sorts. Is this Tyreke Evans’ team? DeMarcus Cousins’ team? How much can we expect from Robinson/Isaiah Thomas? Until Sacramento fixes their identity issues, they remain a team full of talent but lacking in cohesion.

Reason for Pessimism

As I’m sure you are aware, the Wolves are dealing with some serious (and, frankly, super stupid and unfair) injury problems. This leaves Minnesota some identity issues of their own. When Kevin Love is out, how will the offense run? Who will it run through? Can all of the new pieces come together quickly enough to salvage the first month of the season? Only time will tell.


Your guess is as good as mine frankly, given the new pieces and the injury woes. But for the sake of the new season, the home opener and the fact that I’ll be in attendance, let’s feel positive about this one. Ok? Cool.

Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.

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