On a team with a rotation that could go quite deep into the bench, Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders says you will see either D'Angelo Russell or Ricky Rubio on the floor, at point guard, at all times.
But, Saunders said, you may see them on the court together a significant part of the time as well as the Wolves prepare for Wednesday's season opener against Detroit at Target Center.
He has a plan.
"I do," Saunders said. "And part of that is also going to be how other guys continue to progress getting in shape, how deep we feel we can go leading into Wednesday. The plan is to have one of those guys on the floor at all times. [But] I do see them playing together."
Russell has played with other ballhandlers in the past and is used to it. It's also a way to get Russell opportunities when teams start trapping him on pick-and-rolls.
"The game will tell you what to do," Saunders said. "A lot of that will be based on matchups."
Saunders said he likes the idea of having them both on the court late in games when the Wolves are trying to hold onto a lead. "Late in games I like two cerebral ballhandlers out there making decisions," he said.
Saunders said he also likes Rubio playing with Malik Beasley.
"We want to run," Saunders said. "[Beasley], one of his best attributes is getting to the corners."
Saunders was asked just how deep his rotation could go. Might as many as 11 players be in line for regular minutes?
"I'm not opposed to that," he said. "I've never been afraid to try something new if something isn't working."
Foul trouble — which has been an issue at times during the short preseason — could affect this decision as well.
"Depth is key this year," Saunders said, citing the possibility of foul trouble, injuries or a COVID-19-related situation. "Having guys ready to fill roles [is important]."
• Saunders was asked about Karl-Anthony Towns' occasional foul trouble during the preseason, particularly if he needs to work on knowing when to be aggressive when it comes to defending in the paint. Saunders talked about the team in general.
"We want to be a good verticality team," he said. "That's something we're focused on as well. Being vertical, not coming down. We did a poor job of that in the first two games [of the preseason]."
Another key: Guards getting over screens.
• Jake Layman acknowledged that it might take time for a Wolves team with significant turnover and limited time together because of the pandemic to really find a rhythm this season. Given the Wolves' challenging schedule to start the season, how will the team get up to speed and be competitive at the same time?
"I think our biggest thing is going to be our defense," he said. "We have a lot of weapons on offense, one through five, both units. For us, we've been focusing on defense the last three days. That will be a huge key."