Well, now that the trade deadline has passed, the dust has settled and Wolves coach Flip Saunders knows exactly who he’s going to have for the rest of the season, it’s time for some serious evaluation.
The Wolves aren’t going to be in the playoffs, so the priority is seeing which players on the roster — particularly the young ones — figure into the team’s long-term plans.
“It’s an evaluation time for some of these guys, for where they’re at,” Saunders said before the Wolves hosted Phoenix at Target Center Friday night. “But also for what they have to work on, once the season ends and they start getting ready for next year, what they need to do to become solid rotational players. So it’s a little of both.”
Saunders said he’s curious to see how it all turns out. To that end, he said he might try some new things — some new sets and plays on offense as well as some different defenses — just to see how they work and how the players adapt.
“I’m curious like everyone else to see what happens,” Saunders said. “Roles change constantly. I have an idea how I want it to work. I’m curious to see [if that happens].”
Crazy trade day
It was a wild day of trades in the league Thursday, with a dozen trades involving 39 players and several draft picks. The two teams that played at Target center Friday were right in the middle of it.
When Goran Dragic forced his way out of Phoenix, the Suns did as well as they could. The Suns sent both Goran and Zoran Dragic to Miami and sent Isaiah Thomas to Boston. In return, they got Danny Granger, Miles Plumlee, Tyler Ennis and two first-round draft picks.
It also meant the Suns, still waiting for their new players, only had about 10 players available Friday.
Finally for real
Growing up playing NBA video games, Ricky Rubio said he was always the Timberwolves because Kevin Garnett was there. Over the years, he rang up a lot of virtual assists to Garnett. But now it’s time to do it for real.
“I hope I can give him more on the court,” he said.
When asked about his strongest memory of Garnett, Rubio smiled. “He’s going to be mad at me,” Rubio said. “But I remember one play where Pau Gasol dunked on him.”
Gasol is a Spaniard, as is Rubio, and the two are friends. So Garnett probably won’t get too mad. Gasol and Garnett went at it many times, especially when Garnett was here and Gasol was playing for Memphis.
Wolves forward Anthony Bennett, just 8-plus minutes into his third start of the season, went down because of a lower right leg contusion in the first quarter. It happened while scrambling for a rebound. He did not return.
Saunders said x-rays were negative, but that further tests would be done Sunday. Bennett said he was hit on the side of his calf.
“I’m walking, so that’s a good sign,” he said after the game.
But he did leave the locker room with a limp. Bennett said it wasn’t serious but he’ll know more Saturday.
• Ricky Rubio’s minutes limit has been bumped up to the low 30s.
• Shabazz Muhammad was available to play despite a sore finger on his shooting hand.