The Wolves game with the Milwaukee Bucks tonight will be the only time this season local fans have a chance to see Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo at Target Center.
He’s worth the price of admission.
Antetokounmpo, often known as the Greek Freak, enters the game ninth in the league in scoring (26.7), third in rebounding (13.8), eighth in assists (7.7) and 14th in blocks (1.8).
In a victory over Toronto Saturday in Milwaukee Antetokounmpo had 36 points, shot 14-for-20, had 15 rebounds, handed out eight assists and blocked four shots.
The 4-2 Bucks will give any team a test. And the Wolves (4-1) are playing without Karl-Anthony Towns, who will serve the second of his two-game suspension tonight.
Wolves coach Ryan Saunders was asked what it takes to slow Antetokounmpo down.
“Slowing him down is tough,’’ Saunders said. “You want to limit his ability to, one, get to the rim and create for himself. And also his ability to create for his teammates.’’
It’s a good assumption that Robert Covington will draw the assignment. But he’ll have to have help. But even that is difficult, Saunders said. Because often the help comes from a big guy in the middle, and suddenly Bucks center Brook Lopez is in the corner shooting an open three.
“A lot of times fives are not used to guarding the strongside corner,’’ Saunders said. “So they create two-way stunts, and Giannis is able to close out to a very good three-point shooter. [Antetokounmpo] keeps getting better and better."
Here are some short takes from this morning’s shootaround:
--Rookie Jarrett Culver isn’t going to get too carried away with his 26-minute, 20-point performance in the Wolves’ victory in Washington Saturday.
“It was good,’’ he said. “I was getting open looks, taking the right shots. And coach has confidence in me to take those shots. So it was good.’’
This is about as effusive as Culver got this morning.
Saunders was walking the same path, saying he didn’t want to talk about Saturday’s performance as a breakout game. “That just puts pressure on somebody for the next game,’’ Saunders said.
Besides, it wasn’t Culver’s scoring that stood out to Saunders. “Knocking down threes is a positive,’’ he said. “But the way he defended? Communicated? The way he handled and found his teammates off pick and rolls? Those are the things we know he’ll be very good at in this league.’’
--Andrew Wiggins on Culver: “Every game he’s getting better. He’s going to be a special piece for us.’’