Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Brooklyn Nets
Friday, December 3, 2021- 7:30 PM EST at Barclays Center
The Minnesota Timberwolves are attempting a last run with the current core of Karl Anthony Towns and D'Angelo Russell. If this iteration of the team can't get it done, it might be time to move Towns and Russell and build around the team's true star, Anthony Edwards.
Towns led the team in points and rebounds, averaging 24 and 9 respectively. Anthony Edwards leads the team in highlight dunks that get the Timberwolves and their fans excited about the game of basketball. Edwards has contagious confidence that has helped the team escape from its losing culture. Edwards has elite athleticism in a league full of the world's best athletes.
Edwards continues to learn the game of basketball and if his defense and shooting continue to improve he has the potential to be a future MVP. Edwards has Timberwolves fans excited for their future, but the present turnaround has been keyed by the improved play of D'Angelo Russell.
Russell was once a net negative on defense, and his stint with the Warriors reinforced the idea of many NBA observers that he would never be able to play defense on the level needed to captain a winning NBA team. Give credit to the Timberwolves and their head coach Chris Finch.
Russell has now become a good defender, which is a surprise to many, including myself. Russell is also shooting well and controlling the offense. Russell understands when to take over, when to feed Towns, and when to feed Edwards. Russell becoming a true point guard has fueled the Timberwolves' return to relevance.
The Brooklyn Nets are led by the brilliant scoring ability of Kevin Durant. Durant can score one-on-one in almost any situation against any defender. After a slow start, James Harden is returning to his high-level form and proving to be a great partner next to Durant.
The Nets are getting strong minutes from LaMarcus Aldridge, Patty Mills, and Deandre Bembry. Coach Steve Nash's coaching ability is also improving with experience. Nash’s lack of experience was exposed last season. Nash was in a unique situation, having to lead a championship contender in his first peregrination as a coach.
Yet Nash has always been one of the smartest NBA players in his understanding of the game of basketball and how stars think and operate. This has made Nash a quick study in becoming a good leader at the NBA level. LaMarcus Aldridge has played well and Blake Griffin has not. With Griffin only shooting 16% from 3-point range, the Nets have opted to take him out of the rotation for the time being.
Griffin is a skilled basketball player and could definitely return to form, this might also mark the end of Griffin's time being a contributor to a winning basketball team. The Nets are hurting from the injuries/illness to Joe Harris and Nico Claxton.
Harris’ 3 point marksmanship gave the Nets space on offense and Harris is a good defender. Claxton allowed the Nets to have a more athletic option at the frontcourt as he is the best big the Nets have when it comes to a switching-based defense. The Nets hope to have these 2 players back soon.
LaMarcus Aldridge vs. Karl Anthony Towns
The Nets' weakness as a team is matching up with size. The Nets struggle with teams that are strong in the post-on offense and aggressive rebounding teams. These are two of Towns' premier skills as he's one of the best post players in the NBA and he loves to hit the glass.
I expect Russell to have a good game and Edwards can be wildly inconsistent, but the key to this game for the Timberwolves will be the performance of Towns. Towns are looking to prove that he is a member of the NBA's elite and this will be an opportunity for him to do it on the big stage in Brooklyn.
If Towns is able to have a strong night; with strong shooting efficiency and punishing the Nets and the rebounding category, the Timberwolves will get the victory. If Aldridge is able to use his veteran guile to slow down Towns and turn it into a perimeter-based game, the Nets have the huge advantages and should win.
This line is inflated because of the injury report at the time of this writing. Betting this game this early has the feel of playing some craps since the Timberwolves’ 2 best players are on the injury report. However, we are gonna roll the dice with the Timberwolves and hope that Towns and Edwards play. This is a gamble within a gamble but here we are! Let’s end Friday night right with a cover from the Minnesota Timberwolves. Today’s Play of the Day is Timberwolves +8.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.