NEW YORK – The Timberwolves did not hold a morning shootaround, a staple of most game days, before facing the Brooklyn Nets.
Last season, unless the Wolves were playing on consecutive nights, they would have a shootaround before each game.
However, as part of the Wolves’ commitment to rest and recovery, the Wolves opted not to have one before their first game, and this could become more normal than not.
“I’ll use the word fluid and say that it’ll be a game-by-game decision and seeing how these guys feel,” coach Ryan Saunders said. “Obviously we’re a team that looks at analytics, looks at data and looks at numbers. We want to make sure we take care of our players and especially at the pace we were able to play at in the preseason, we want to make sure these guys are rested.”
The Wolves did have four practices in five days before Wednesday’s game, so there might not have been a need for a shootaround. But this could be one way the Wolves try to gain an edge on their opponents.
That’s not to say the Wolves weren’t doing any game-plan work before tipoff. There were still meetings at the hotel.
“We feel that we have an opportunity on the road especially at times to get guys some rest but also we’re able to lock in and go through our brunch meeting and really dig in to our opponent,” Saunders said.
Cooking up something good
The night before their first game, the Wolves did something unusual. They held an event near Wall Street to unveil how they are reshaping players’ diets. The Wolves announced partnerships with local chef Gavin Kaysen, owner of Spoon and Stable, Bellecour and Demi, and celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern to create specifically tailored diets for players.
Kaysen and Zimmern sat on a panel hosted by Wolves television analyst Jim Petersen that also featured President Gersson Rosas and Saunders
The Wolves will be using data and analytics to help determine on a daily basis what the players will need nutritionally in order to maximize their performance.
“I’ve never had an experience where I don’t want to go buy food or anything,” center Karl-Anthony Towns said. “I’m always just asking him for all my meals in the day and the morning. That’s a huge benefit for us as players because that takes one headache off our plates.”
• The Wolves had all hands on deck — their injury report was empty — against Brooklyn, but Saunders mentioned there were a few players the Wolves were watching in terms of how long they could play. Jordan Bell dealt with a left calf strain during the preseason while Treveon Graham, who earned a spot in the starting lineup, had a left hip contusion.
• Lynx forward and WNBA rookie of the year Napheesa Collier was in attendance at Wednesday’s game.