The Minnesota Timberwolves have one more game before the NBA All-Star break, and it comes in the form of a nationally-televised matchup. Not only are the Timberwolves taking center stage on Wednesday, but they do so against James Harden and the Houston Rockets. While this has the makings of a great matchup, Minnesota will be a bit shorthanded here as a few players have been ruled out, including Andrew Wiggins.
The news on Wiggins came roughly an hour and a half before tip as The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski revealed that head coach Ryan Saunders said he’s dealing with an illness.
With Wiggins sidelined, this should mean a heavier workload for the likes of Derrick Rose, Jeff Teague, Josh Okogie, and Luol Deng. While each player will get a boost, it’s Deng who’s starting in place of Wiggins against the Rockets.
The absence of one of Minnesota’s top scorers isn’t the only roster change, as Dario Saric will also remain in the starting lineup in place of Taj Gibson. With that said, we’re going to take a look at the updated roster and lineup for the Timberwolves on Wednesday night.
Timberwolves Roster & Starting Lineup vs. Rockets
*Notates expected starter
C: Karl-Anthony Towns*, Gorgui Dieng
PF: Dario Saric*, Taj Gibson
SF: Luol Deng*, Anthony Tolliver, Keita Bates-Diop
SG: Josh Okogie*, Jerryd Bayless
PG: Jeff Teague*, Derrick Rose, Isaiah Canaan
With Deng starting, he and Saric should see a decent workload while Rose will do plenty of heavy lifting off the bench and likely see big minutes. We’ve watched the former MVP put up some huge performances in primetime matchups this season, and he could be in for a big night while going toe-to-toe with Harden.
The absence of Wiggins will also benefit Karl-Anthony Towns, as he’ll be relied upon to put up even more shots and be even more involved on the offensive end. Towns has been exceptional as of late, shooting 56 percent or better in eight of the last nine games while topping 22 points in each of those games as well.
Another name worth noting who’s missing is Tyus Jones, who’s dealing with an ankle injury and hasn’t played since January 15. Prior to that, Jones saw decent minutes due to injuries which kept both Teague and Rose out of the lineup at various points. It’s unknown when he’ll return to action, but he does seem to be getting close.