With Shabazz Muhammad struggling and Nemanja Bjelica out Sunday, Tom Thibodeau used just eight players in the Wolves' win over the depleted Clippers. All five starters played at least 35 minutes, which isn't surprising.
Entering Monday, all five players in Minnesota's typical starting lineup were in the NBA's top 40 in terms of average minutes played per game this season. Andrew Wiggins is tied for third (37 minutes), Jimmy Butler is seventh (36.5), Karl-Anthony Towns is 20th (34.5), Jeff Teague is 28th (34) and Taj Gibson is 40th (32.9). Only one other NBA team even has three starters in the top 40.
This is the continuation of a pattern with Thibodeau. Starting with 2011-12, his second season in Chicago, in his last five full seasons coached in the NBA his teams have never finished higher than 25th in bench minutes. The Wolves are well on their way to making it six in a row.
Read Michael Rand's blog at startribune.com/randball. firstname.lastname@example.org.