Healthy enough to play, Timberwolves veteran guard Kevin Martin nonetheless sat out his second consecutive game in Saturday’s 102-88 home loss to Indiana.
Wolves interim coach Sam Mitchell prefers Andrew Wiggins play shooting guard, recognizes Zach LaVine is more suited for that position than point guard, and said Saturday he is committed to playing rookie Tyus Jones since he was recalled Tuesday from a successful six-game NBA Development League assignment.
Judging by comments made by Mitchell and Martin, Saturday’s decision could become routine until Martin is traded.
He spoke briefly on the subject, saying “with respect to my teammates and the organization, we’re going to keep it in-house right now. Both sides know what each other wants. There will be a time to talk about it, but it’s just not now.”
Mitchell said he and the team must look to the future.
“You have to be realistic,” Mitchell said. “I’m not saying K-Mart and some of our veteran players won’t continue to play, but you can’t do everything. We’re still trying to win games, but we’re trying to give our young guys an opportunity to win games. If not, we’re going to be in the same situation next year trying to figure out who can play, what position they play. We need them to get better and the only way they’re going to get better is to play.”
Asked if his attitude will be an issue should the Wolves continue to sit him, Martin said, “My attitude hasn’t been an issue since my mom spanked me for the first time when I was 6 years old.”
For the next week or so, the decision to sit Martin allows his sprained shooting wrist more time to heal. At age 32, Martin is a 12-year NBA veteran who remains one of the league’s most efficient scorers. According to a league source, playoff teams from both conferences have called Wolves General Manager Milt Newton inquiring about Martin.
A real old-timer
LaVine used part of his one-day Christmas vacation to watch the Cleveland-Golden State game and catch a new State Farm ad featuring teammate Kevin Garnett. Sporting a gray goatee and knee-high socks, Garnett plays the part of “Grampa” in a “Meet the Hoopers” campaign featuring Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, Kevin Love and Damian Lillard.
“The gray beard threw me off a little bit,” LaVine said. “It was funny, though. I liked it.”
• Rookie Tyus Jones played his second consecutive game after being recalled from a six-game assignment in the D-League just in time to come home to Apple Valley.
“I couldn’t ask for a better week,” Jones said. “Being at home obviously for the holidays is special for me and my family. Getting called back up and playing against the Spurs [Wednesday] was a good opportunity for me.”
• Former Wolves forward Chase Budinger returned to Target Center for the first time since he was traded to Indiana in July. “It was kind of weird coming in [to the visitors’ locker room] instead of keep walking. But it was good seeing everybody.”