The Spurs will be without their best player at least for the opener. After the Warriors/Spurs and Cavaliers/Celtics on Tuesday night, most of the rest of the league tips off.
The good news for Spurs fans is the team will get a good look at some of the talented, young guards on the roster.
"Minnesota the last few years has been really bad defensively", continued Van Gundy, a former league coach. Minnesota won just 31 games in the regular season.
He was limited to five attempts in the first quarter as the Spurs did not go out of their way to get the ball to their 6-foot-11 forward, but instead let him ease into the contest.
Based mainly on their off-season moves, almost everybody is talking about the Minnesota Timberwolves, now sustaining the NBA's longest non-playoff streak - 13 years. The Timberwolves have lost 12 straight to the Spurs and eight straight in San Antonio. My guess would be that Houston or OKC will have the best chance to leap them in the standings and earn themselves home court advantage in the second round.
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For the Spurs, of course, it's all about the veterans and Kawhi Leonard. The new deal (three-year, $72.3 million) will lock up Aldridge through 2020-21 seasons.
Aldridge left the Portland Trail Blazers to join San Antonio on a four-year deal worth US$84 million (AU$111 million) in 2015.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are led by Tom Thibodeau as the head coach. They added three-time Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford and playoff-tested Jeff Teague and Taj Gibson.
A season ago, the Timberwolves were anchored offensively by Towns and Wiggins. Surprisingly, the Spurs only recorded 13 more rebounds than the miserably short Celtics, and actually were outscored by 14 points in the paint each game. That will go with Jimmy Butler, who has not only been an elite defender but a great scorer as well.
As long as Kawhi Leonard and Gregg Popovich remain in San Antonio there will always be expectation that they will be competing for a place in the Western Conference Finals. I tried to make him a different player.
Although the San Antonio Spurs and Minnesota Timberwolves did not protest during the national anthem on Wednesday evening, a message was surely sent nonetheless.