Minnesota at Sacramento
Time: 9 PM CT (NBA TV)
Spread: MIN -5.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Sacramento Kings have lost three-straight and seven of its past 10 overall, and will host the Minnesota Timberwolves Monday night on NBA TV at 9 PM (CT). The Wolves are 5.5-point favorites in Sacto, where the Kings have posted a 8-19 mark this season. The point total is set at 216.5 according to NBA oddsmakers at 5dimes.
Minnesota is building towards a meaningful future with two of the league’s brightest stars in Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns, alongside established veteran All-Star Jimmy Butler. The Wolves occupy the No. 4 spot in the West and would have ?home-court advantage if the playoffs began today.?Tom Thibodeau finally has the veteran leaders to lead his strong young core. Towns is averaging 20.5 points, 11.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks pregame with a team-high PER of 23.0.
Butler has reduced his scoring load from a season ago with the pitiful Chicago Bulls, but is playing strong two-way basketball and still tallying 20 points per night.?Andrew Wiggins has made meaningful strides as a playmaker and defender, with the cost that he is averaging fewer points than last season, but the Wolves are a better more well-rounded team this season.
Credit some of that to unheralded additions Jeff Teague and Taj Gibson. Gibson has relegated the once-promising Gorgui Dieng to the bench, while Teague has seamlessly replaced Ricky Rubio at the point guard position. Jamal Crawford is not seeing a lot of minutes (17 per game), but is still a viable scorer off the bench and he can get hot at any time.
The Wolves have sufficient depth and leadership to finally cash in on its potential, and developing consistency on both ends of the court is next on Thibodeau’s checklist for his rising Wolves. The team is off to a great start for a young ball club and could be one of the most feared by the time the postseason finally arrives in 2018. The Wolves are hot and on the rise.
Sacramento’s season has been one of tanking, but also in the mix has been the development of dynamic point guard and Kentucky product DeAaron Fox. Fox is averaging 11 points and four assists per game in his rookie season, but showing many of the signs of a future star, at least according to the eye test. Veteran Zach Randolph leads the team in scoring but averages just 14.8 points per game, and Sacramento averages just 99 points per game as a team.
Former New Orleans Pelican Buddy Hield has failed to translate to a superstar in his sophomore season, averaging just 12 points per game and playing 23 minutes a night. Willie Cauley-Stein has shown some promise as a defensive cog and has his nights offensively, but Sacto largely struggles to score the ball without any developed stars on their team. Randolph was once that, but has declined quite a bit.
Sure, he is still an efficient power forward and puts up premium production for just 25.8 minutes a night, but Sacto will be on the look out for a star with its probable high draft pick in 2018. Given that the team needs help at every position, any guesses as to who Sacto will chase in the draft are a bit of a crapshoot. Ostensibly, the team has its backcourt of the future, but its frontcourt could use major upgrades, and a premier scoring wing also ranks high on the team’s list of needs. Either way, Sacramento is now missing the playoffs for the 11th year straight, and the rebuild rages on even if it seems to utterly lack any defined sense of direction.