With 22 teams back in action on Friday night, the Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves highlighted the NBA’s return on ESPN. The Houston Rockets won the game 120-102, lead by MVP favorite James Harden’s 31 points and 9 assists. The main take away from the game though was Minnesota’s Jimmy Butler right knee injury. Jimmy Butler left the game late in the third after hitting knees with Nene. Jimmy was helped to the locker room after, not being able to put any weight onto his knee. This could be devastating to the Timberwolves if Butler is forced to miss an extended period of time. Butler is the clear leader of this young Timberwolves team and changed the culture of their locker room drastically, after being acquired this off season.
The Timberwolves currently sit 4th in the West, but are only 4 games ahead of the 9th place Los Angeles Clippers. This means that the Minnesota Timberwolves may not break their 13 year league leading playoff drought after it seemed as if they were a lock for at least a top 5 seed in the tough Western Conference. If Butler is out for an extended period of time this means going forward for the Wolves both Karl Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins will have to step up their games, especially Wiggins. Wiggins has the potential to be great but is only showing his true talents scoring the rock. Wiggins will have to take the next step and expand his game, both by playing better defense and becoming a playmaker by getting his teammates involved if the Wolves want to have a shot at ending their playoff drought.
Stats and info courtesy of basketball-reference.com
Picture via: thebiglead.com