Wednesday night will mark the Nuggets first look at a new and improved Minnesota Timberwolves roster that features 3x All-Star Jimmy Butler.
Where: Pepsi Center-Denver, CO
When: 7 p.m. MST
Watch/Listen: Altitude Sports and Entertainment-Altitude Radio KKSE 950 AM
The Minnesota Timberwolves acquired All-Star Jimmy Butler over the offseason with the hopes of ending a playoff drought that lasts all the way back to the 2003-2004 season. So far, the Timberwolves are performing well and currently hold an 18-13 record, which puts them at fourth in the Western Conference and first place in the Northwest division. The addition of Butler has certainly paid off as he is averaging 20.1 points per game, 5.6 rebounds per game, and 4.7 assists per game. Butler is also a force on the defensive end of the floor and leads the Timberwolves in steals at 1.9 per game.
As well as Butler is playing, he still doesn’t lead the team in points per game or rebounds per game as those categories belong to Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns. Towns is currently putting up 20.5 points per game and 11.7 rebounds per game, while also shooting an efficient 52 percent from the field. Both Towns and Butler will present tough match-ups for the Nuggets and will test the likes of Nikola Jokic, Mason Plumlee, Gary Harris, and Torrey Craig on the defensive end of the court.
Another name the Nuggets will have to look out for is Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins is currently averaging 17.9 points per game and is second on the team in minutes per game at 36.7. The Nuggets will have to watch out for Wiggins in the paint as he shoots 43 percent from the field, but averages just under 30 percent from behind the three-point line. Look for Nuggets defensive stand out Torrey Craig to be on Wiggins if he draws the start, and for Craig to also play some defense on Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler.
The Nuggets are coming off a tough one point loss against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night and will look to right the ship against the T-Wolves. Denver currently holds a record of 16-14 which places them at fifth in the Western Conference and second in the Northwest division. In both the division standings and the conference standings the Nuggets are chasing the Timberwolves and could really gain some ground with a victory on Wednesday night. As far as injuries go, Nuggets point guard Emmanuel Mudiay is doubtful for the game with a right ankle sprain and starting shooting guard Gary Harris is questionable with a right elbow contusion. Neither Mudiay nor Harris practiced on Tuesday, but coach Malone sounded optimistic that Harris would be able to play on Wednesday night.
Gary Harris didn’t practice today. Coach Malone said he was sore from the scary fall he had last night. Harris is still expected to play tomorrow night against the T-Wolves
— Brandon Ewing (@B_Skip17) December 19, 2017
Harris’s fall was certainly a scary one and its a good sign that he was able to finish out the game against the Thunder. If Harris isn’t able to go on Wednesday night, look for more minutes from Malik Beasley and Torrey Craig to fill his place.
Stay tuned to Dig In Denver for postgame coverage.