At first glance tonight’s game between the Timberwolves and the Sacramento Kings at Target Center looks like a matchup of two games in a similar place. They are both out of the playoff picture; the Wolves and Kings entered the game 12th and 13th, respectively, in the NBA’s Western Conference.
But, according to someone who should know, the two franchises are far, far apart.
Omri Casspi has played for both this season. He began the season with the Kings – the team that drafted him in the first round in 2009. He played two seasons there, had stops in Cleveland and Houston before re-signing with the Kings in 2014.
A part of the deal that sent DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans Feb. 20, Casspi injured his right thumb in his first game with the Pelicans and was waived Feb. 25. He signed with the Wolves March 20.
This will be his first game against his old team this season.
And he sees two teams going very different directions. “It is not similar at all,’’ Casspi said. “The Timberwolves are well ahead in their rebuilding. They’re putting the right pieces in the right places. I think this team, whether I’m here or not next year, should win 50-plus games. Sacramento, now is starting to rebuild. It will take time.’’
Here are some other notes from this morning’s shootaround:
--Thanks to Monday’s game with Portland – the reschedule of the game postponed by condensation on the Target Center floor – the Wolves are about to embark on a very difficult stretch. Starting tonight Minnesota will play six games in nine nights, including having to travel after Monday’s game to play at Golden State the next day.
Does Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau feel the need to alter his approach or rotations? No. “You go day by day, get ready for each day,’’ he said. “And you go from there.’’
But, likely in anticipation of this stretch, Thibodeau did not practice Friday and may not Sunday. Monday, with a 6 p.m. game, the Wolves likely won’t have a shootaround in the morning.
--Being a native of Connecticut, and having become friends with UConn women’s coach Geno Auriemma through USA Basketball, Thibodeau was disappointed in UConn’s loss to Mississippi State in a national semifinal game Friday. “It was painful,’’ he said. “My mom watches all their games. She’s a big fan. And she’s obviously a little upset. But we know how special that program is. They’ve had an incredible run. And [Auriemma] is as good as it gets.’’