Los Angeles Clippers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
7:30 p.m. PST
December 1, 2014
FOX Prime Ticket
Video of the Day
The Timberwolves aren’t the first group to make the trip from Minnesota to LA. Get ready for the Brandon Walsh Bowl.
1. Is Andrew Wiggins looking like the deserving No. 1 overall pick?
Steve McPherson, A Wolf Among Wolves, (@steventurous): I think so, although that’s with the proviso that he’s a slow burner. The Wolves have been forced to freight him with a little more responsibility than they probably wanted to right out of the gate because of injuries, but he’s still taking the game in and learning as he goes. He was never going to come into the league and have a Keanu-esque “I know kung fu” start to his career, but he’s well on his way to being a good No. 1 pick.
Law Murray, (@LawMurrayTheNU): No, not really. Obviously, it is early in every respect to this query. It is only December, and Wiggins does not turn 20 until February, so we’re just barely getting used to Wiggins in black and blue. He’s shown tantalizing flashes. But I don’t think Cleveland or Milwaukee misses him. I want to see more inside the arc.
Patrick James, (@patrickmjames): I don’t believe that the phrase “deserving No. 1 overall pick” needs to mean “best overall rookie after one month.” That’s a good thing, because Wiggins doesn’t look like the best in his class (right now). But he’s got so much potential, is clearly NBA ready, and looks poised to grow into a monster.
2. Are the constant Zach LaVine-Russell Westbrook comparisons accurate?
McPherson: No. I think the UCLA thing and the two-guard-playing-the-one thing have propelled that line of thinking, and sure, there are physical characteristics like speed and leaping ability that make the connection obvious, but I don’t see LaVine’s game growing into the same place that Westbrook’s is. I don’t think he’ll be a full-time point guard in the NBA, but that his time playing point will help him be a better two guard eventually.
Murray: When I look at 2008 Westbrook, I don’t see 2014 LaVine. Westbrook has this aggression, explosion, and acceleration that is just fearsome. Even when Westbrook is out of control, he is ruthless in his attack. I feel like LaVine is too “smooth” to stretch the comparison. I don’t see LaVine as a disruptive force-in-training, despite the Bruins ties.
James: I’ve never understood the comparison. Yes, there’s a similar combination of speed and aggressive, slashing play, but Westbrook has always seemed so much more powerful (and angry) than LaVine. That’s a crucial distinction. Now, if you show me a moment where LaVine looked ready to bite a defender’s head off, I’ll concede the point.
3. The Clippers went 6-1 on their road trip. Are they finally back on track?
McPherson: The strength of their opponents during this run notwithstanding (the Magic, Pistons, Hornets and Jazz are hardly contenders), it does seem like the Clippers have righted the ship. This season finds them in a tough spot where they have terrific talent and have been good for a while, but need to find another collective gear somehow. Especially with OKC struggling, the biggest thing standing in their way is themselves, and this 6-1 streak augurs well for their future.
Murray: Wins are wins, and the Clippers took care of business on the road. There’s not much to get too excited about, but there’s nothing extra to be concerned about either as they play their first home game in two weeks. The Clippers are 11-5 for the second straight season, so I’d say they are right on last season’s pace.
James: There’s nothing shameful in going 6-1 on a road trip (it’s apparently the best trip in Clippers history), and the more wins as you can accumulate at this stage of the season, the better. But the Clippers started the year off by digging a hole for themselves, and they won’t be out of it until they’re consistently beating good teams, addressing their most pressing issues (wing defense, etc.), and sitting near the top of the West.