“According to Wolves coach Sam Mitchell, this was going to happen eventually. Looking for more scoring from the starting five, hoping to help veteran guard Kevin Martin shake his recent shooting slump and determined to give younger players more playing time, Mitchell has changed his starting lineup and altered his rotation.
Beginning with Monday’s game against slumping Philadelphia at Target Center, Martin will move into the starting lineup, replacing Tayshaun Prince. Also, Mitchell said some younger players, particularly Shabazz Muhammad, will see more minutes.
“’We need more scoring,’ Mitchell said. ‘We may give up a little more defensively, but we just have to score more points. And that may help KMart get out of his funk a little bit.’ The new starting five will have Martin at off guard with Wiggins moving to small forward, where he played last season as a rookie.
“’It was never my intention for Tayshaun to play the amount of minutes [he has],’ said Mitchell of Prince, who has averaged 22.2 minutes, 3.2 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. Mitchell said Prince’s minutes would drop to about 10 minutes per game while Muhammad’s minutes could increase to 22-25 per game.
“Martin is shooting a career-low 36.5 percent. He shot 41.8 percent and averaged 17.3 points over his first seven games. But over the past five games, he has shot 24.4 percent and averaged 7.6 points. Martin might benefit from starting the game in a lineup that includes Rubio. He also might benefit from the spacing caused by Towns’ threat in the post and the defensive attention given to Wiggins.”
“Atlanta Hawks star Al Horford took one look at a 15-year-old named Karl-Anthony Towns on that day they first met and just knew a kid with such big hands and enormous feet was going someplace. Before Towns had future Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett in his ears and eyes daily as a professional, Horford guided Towns as a ninth-grader who came to him and his national team because of Towns’ physical gifts, drive and a mother from the Dominican Republic.
“’It meant everything,’ Towns, who was born and raised in New Jersey, said of a relationship that remains to this day. ‘I go from one great mentor to another, from Al Horford, an All-Star, to a Hall of Famer in KG. I was able to learn some moves, learn patience, learn how to be a pro. Al Horford, I don’t think I have to say it: Many people look at him and see the definition of a pro.’
‘You could see it, but I think he has exceeded expectations so quick,’ said Horford, whose Hawks complete their season series with the Wolves on Wednesday at Target Center. ‘He has always been skilled, always been to shoot the ball really well, a really good passer, really understands the game. I kind of thought he had a chance, but it has really been impressive how far along he’s come, how fast. I think his mentality is what helps him most. He’s very poised, very mature.’”
“Nemanja Bjelica (knee contusion) did not practice on Sunday. Beat reporter Kent Youngblood said that Bjelica will be questionable "at best," for Monday's game against the 76ers, so it sounds like there's a good chance he'll spend that game on the sidelines. With Bjelica out, there will be more minutes for Shabazz Muhammad and Adreian Payne, with Muhammad offering the most upside.”
“The Wolves still don't have a home win in six tries and will be desperate to put a halt to that drought Monday night, when a certain 0-14 outfit from Philadelphia comes to town. I'm guessing Uber-rook Karl-Anthony Towns has by now heard the story of how Philly, at 0-17, came to 'Sota shortly after Thanksgiving last season to find win No. 1.”
Pace: 100.0 (9) OffRtg: 100.5 (19) DefRtg: 100.7 (13) NetRtg: -0.2 (17)
"The Wolves got another impressive road win (in Miami) on Tuesday, but their inability to shoot (16-for-68 from 3-point range in their last four games) continues to be a problem. There's certainly a lack of floor spacing in their starting lineup, but they've been the league's fourth best team (plus-15.2 NetRtg) in the first six minutes of the first quarter. So a lineup change isn't really called for just yet."
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