The biggest draw of any preseason NBA game is watching the newcomers for each team. This Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves matchup is no different. With both teams playing without their young stars at point guard, reserves at the position will get a good measure of attention.
Here's what to watch for in the third preseason game of the year for both squads:
Marquis Teague and Alexey Shved
The two rookie point guards figure to see a little more time this season with injuries to Derrick Rose and Ricky Rubio. Early on, Shved would have the edge over Teague.
In a home series with the Indiana Pacers, Shved scored a total of seven points. He was scoreless in his debut, but showed the ability to hit the glass and set up his teammates. Shved is a lean 6'6", so he needs to get stronger, but his size and versatility will be valuable.
Teague has predictably struggled early. He's played a total of nine minutes, but has yet to score. He is 0-for-5 from the field and has three turnovers.
The Kentucky product is extremely raw, and he looks to have a ways to go before he can contribute. Watching their performance tonight will be interesting,
Everyone knows that a healthy Roy is one of the best shooting guards in the NBA. The question is how much of the old Roy is still left in an injury-stricken body. Through two games, Roy has looked pretty solid.
He's averaging 9.5 points per game in 32 minutes of action. Most importantly, he's shot the ball well (7-of-12 from the field) and no excessive swelling has been reported.
If Roy can continue this type of play, he'll be a big addition for the Wolves. With everyone rooting for him, watching this leg of his comeback is a must.
The New Bench Mob
Ronnie Brewer, C.J. Watson, Omer Asik and Kyle Korver are gone. The Bulls now have Nate Robinson, Marco Belinelli, Nazr Mohammed and others to offer the push off the bench.
In 2011, the Bulls' bench was perhaps their best asset. It remains to be seen if this unit will have the same effect. It's early, but the returns haven't been encouraging. The reserves have shot just over 20 percent from the field.
Tom Thibodeau isn't buying into the it's early excuse. He is quoted by ESPN as follows:
What we have to be careful of is everyone says. You’re new, it’s the preseason. “Then, they say, Okay, we’ll get it when we get to the regular season. Then you get to the regular season and you say we need a month. And then after that they say we need ‘till Christmas, and before you know it the season is over and you never get it.
We can use that as an excuse or we can get the job done. The challenge in this league is how quick you can adapt to change. Some of these guys have been in the league a long time, are more than capable and are going to have to find a way to get it done.
The unit does need time to gel, but it's good that Thibs is still driving the newcomers hard. Whether the bench can respond sooner than later is the question. We'll find out tonight.
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