Lineup changes coming in Minnesota?

January, 11, 2012
01/11/12
9:57
AM ET

The Timberwolves played their third game in three nights Tuesday, so it's no surprise that the superior Chicago Bulls took them down, 111-100. However, after losing four of their past five games, head coach Rick Adelman may be ready to change his starting lineup. On Tuesday, Adelman benched starters Darko Milicic, Wesley Johnson and Wayne Ellington after the first quarter. Meanwhile, Anthony Randolph started the second half and scored 18 points, while fellow reserve Ricky Rubio piled up 13 points, 12 dimes and 4 steals.

Adelman has kept Rubio and Randolph as reserves, along with rookie Derrick Williams, because he likes their energy off the bench. However, if the Wolves keep losing, he may prefer to have that energy on the court at the start of the game. Williams is still learning the ropes, and we've all been teased by Randolph's potential in the past, so we should be skeptical about them busting out quickly. Rubio, though, seems destined for the starting lineup and a huge campaign. Adelman granted that he was considering changes in the starting lineup for Friday's tilt with the New Orleans Hornets.

"I've got two days to think about it," he said.

Looking Back

• According to the Charlotte Observer, Tyrus Thomas wanted to play Tuesday, but Charlotte Bobcats coach Paul Silas held the forward out because he was showing signs of leg fatigue. After returning from a sprained ankle that cost Thomas the first six games of the season, Thomas averaged 29 minutes for three games, so Silas wanted to give him a break. Hopefully, this is just a side effect of a compressed season and we'll see him back on the court as soon as Thursday versus the Atlanta Hawks.

Jan Vesely played his second game of the season Tuesday after missing the start of his rookie campaign with a sore hip. The sixth overall pick in the draft, Vesely played just 16 minutes against the Toronto Raptors, but he hit both of his shots, snagged two boards and tallied five steals. The 6-foot-11, 235-pound small forward is an incredible athlete, and the fact that he could swipe five balls in 16 minutes in his second NBA game is intriguing. The Wizards are awful -- they beat the Raps for their first win of the season -- so Vesely should get all the minutes he can earn. It's just a matter of how quickly he can get comfortable at the NBA level.

• I wrote in the preseason that if Andre Iguodala left the Philadelphia 76ers, Evan Turner could post somewhat similar numbers to what we're used to from Iggy. On Tuesday, Turner played a season-high 33 minutes and nearly triple-doubled. His stat line of 16 points (6-12 FG, 4-4 FT), 8 dimes, 10 rebounds and a steal is quite reminiscent of Iguodala's production. The only trouble is Iggy's still in Philly, he's still starting, and Turner's still coming off the bench -- though Turner's hot hand Tuesday rendered Iguodala statistically useless in just 22 minutes of action. We can't rely on Turner yet, but this is a taste of what could happen if the Sixers' roster shifts.

Dwyane Wade was back on the court Tuesday after missing three games with a foot injury. He looked no worse for wear, piling up 34 points (11 of 23 FG, 12 of 16 FT), 6 boards and 4 steals in 36 minutes. It looks like he's good to go.

• The Dorell Wright we all know and love -- the one who knocked down 3s in bunches last season -- showed up Tuesday night. He drained six of his 11 3-point attempts, scored 20 points and yanked down 10 rebounds. Hopefully he has found his rhythm and will find some consistency going forward.

Looking Ahead

•According to ESPN Chicago, Derrick Rose aggravated a turf toe injury Tuesday that he said has bothered him at times since his second season. It didn't stop him from piling up 31 points, 11 dimes and 4 3s, but any time you hear "turf toe" when discussing a superstar fantasy player, the hair on your neck should stand on end -- especially since he said he couldn't bend the digit after the game. Turf toe can linger and sap the explosiveness of a guy like Rose. For now, we can take him at his word that he'll be all right. But if his performance Wednesday against the Wiz is subpar, it should be concerning.

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