Wins and losses aren’t the point with these teams as much as player development. Give the Wolves the edge in the player development department, as well as on the scoreboard.
In a matchup of Western Conference bottom-feeders, lots of points were scored, youth was served (at least on one side), and it was easy to see why both teams are far from being competitive. The Timberwolves pulled it out 115-108 behind strong performances from youngsters Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine, each of whom scored more than 20.
The Suns were led by Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight. Remember when that duo was the backcourt of the future? Tonight, Bledsoe tallied 27, and Knight 21, as Bledsoe looks as strong as ever, healthy and in his prime. Shame the team around him isn’t ready to compete the way he is.
As to be expected, this game was a shootout. Tom Thibodeau’s defensive expertise hasn’t taken with his young pups yet, and the Suns are perpetually mediocre to bad defensively. So, not surprising how many points we saw, and each team shooting better than 35% from downtown.
But here’s the discouraging thing: Each of these teams is building with youth, but the Wolves young core looks to have a brighter future than the Suns’. Minnesota boasts two former #1 picks in Wiggins and KAT, and LaVine looks as good as Devin Booker right now.
The Suns youngsters? Booker scored 18 on 6-15 from the field, Marquese Chriss was a non-factor with 6 points and 4 rebounds in 16 minutes, Alex Len scored 1 point to go with 5 rebounds in 19 minutes, and Dragan Bender DNP-Coach’s Decision.
All Suns fans here know the situation with the team and the long, patient rebuild, but how long are we talking about until contending? And how patient are we expected to be? Even when compared to other young, rebuilding teams, do the Suns really stack up?
However, on the bright side, the Suns passed the Wolves in the draft lottery ping pong ball race. Maybe Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball or Malik Monk can save the day in the future.