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Wizards at Wolves Pregame: The Fountain Of Youth

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Regular Season Game 60

Wizards (29-30) at Wolves (19-41)

March 2, 2016 at 8:00 PM
Target Center, Minneapolis, MN
TV: CSN Mid-Atlantic
Radio: 99.1FM


Last time they met was..

February 25, 2015 – Target Center, Minneapolis: Wolves 97, Wizards 77


What to watch

Youth. The Washington Wizards are young, and getting younger. With the addition of Markieff Morris, their core currently looks like this:

  • John Wall: 25 years old, 6th season
  • Bradley Beal: 22 years old, 4th season
  • Markieff Morris: 26 years old, 5th season
  • Otto Porter: 22 years old, 3rd season
  • Marcin Gortat: 32 years old, 9th season
  • Kelly Oubre Jr.: 20 years old, 1st season

But if the Wizards are young, the Timberwolves are YOUNG! Their core currently looks like this:

  • Ricky Rubio: 25 years old, 5th season
  • Zach LaVine: 20 years old, 2nd season
  • Andrew Wiggins: 21 years old, 2nd season
  • Shabazz Muhammad: 23 years old, 3rd season
  • Gorgui Dieng: 26 years old, 3rd season
  • Karl-Anthony Towns: 20 years old, 1st season

Wiggins was last season’s Rookie of the Year. KAT will be this season’s Rookie of the Year. The Timberwolves are just 19-41, but keep in this mind: The inaugural 2008-2009 OKC Thunder (Durant’s second NBA season) were 23-59. The next year they were 50-32.

I’m not saying Minnesota will spike next year. But they WILL spike, and when it happens, it’s going to happen quick. The ingredients are already there, now it’s just a matter of time. If the Wizards sleep on this Wolves squad, they’ll get shredded to the bone.


Key Matchup

Marcin Gortat vs. Karl-Anthony Towns

The Polish Hammer has been pounding the opposition since the All-Star Break, but he hasn’t faced anyone quite like Karl-Anthony Towns.

KAT has been good since day one, and has improved steadily throughout the season. Throw it to him the post? He has a solid array of post moves, and is an excellent passer.

Wanna spread the floor? KAT can shoot it out all the way out to the three-point line, where he shoots 35%. Wanna get out in transition and push the tempo? KAT can do this:

He’s also already a stellar team defender. He defends the rim at a high level, but also moves his feet well enough to switch onto guards admirably in pick-and-roll. KG is teaching him well.

He’s had games in which he’s posted the following stat lines:

  • 28 points, 14 rebounds, 4 blocks, 2 assists vs. Denver (his 2nd ever NBA game)
  • 27 points, 17 rebounds, 6 blocks, 3 assists vs. Dallas
  • 30 points, 15 rebounds, 1 block, 4 assists vs. New Orleans (2 games ago)

Click here for his season game log if you’re interested.

Gortat is going to have his hands full tonight. Let’s hope its not a #GortatHands kind of night.


X-factor

Shabazz Muhammad

  • Pre-All-Star: 9.7 ppg, 28% 3PT
  • Post-All-Star: 14.5 ppg, 50% 3PT

Possible Shabazz related outbursts tonight:

“WTF?? Why do they keep leaving Shabazz open?!”

“I thought he couldn’t shoot!!”

“When did he lose weight?”

“Don’t they know he’s left-handed??”

Everything about him just screams #WizardsKiller


Fun Factor:

Zach LaVine

I’m just going to leave this here:


Prediction

Wizards win a game they should (and must) win. Yet somehow, we all turn off the TV secretly jealous of the young Minnesota Timberwolves.

we are Hoop District

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