Advanced Scouting: Minnesota Timberwolves at San Antonio Spurs


Minnesota Timberwolves at San Antonio Spurs 6:00 CST January 9, 2011

The Spurs begin a home-and-home against the Minnesota Timberwolves in San Antonio tonight. The Spurs have won both of their matchups against the Timberwolves this season, but each meeting presented a significant challenge. The Spurs needed overtime to win the first and came from 15 points back to pull out the second. Check out my scouting report on the Timberwolves prior to the first meeting.

The Spurs have been destroyed on the boards in both games. In total, Minnesota has collected 112 rebounds to San Antonio’s 82. If the Spurs want to assure victory in tonight’s game, boxing out Kevin Love (7 offensive rebounds in each meeting) should go a long way.

The Spurs have done a good job slowing the Timberwolves down so far this year. They have only allowed 5 fast breaks in each game, while creating 11 and 15 transition possessions for themselves. These plays resulted in 28 points for the Spurs compared to 9 points for Minnesota.

Michael Beasley has scored 17 points in 17 isolation possessions against the Spurs in the two aforementioned meetings. The Timberwolves have also relied heavily on the post game in both meetings, being credited with 36 total post possessions.

Despite the disparity in production, Darko Milicic continues to get more post opportunities than Kevin Love. In 124 post possessions since December 3, Darko has averaged a putrid 0.58 points per possession compared to the mediocre 0.84 rate produced by Love in 97 possessions.

Tony Parker has excelled running the pick and roll against Minnesota, scoring 25 points in the 17 possessions he finished himself.

Key Statistics

SRS ranks:

Minnesota: -5.65 (30th)
San Antonio: 7.86 (2nd)

Key Player Statistics (courtesy of (effective January 6, 2011) and (effective January 4, 2011):

PlayerFraction of teams minutesPER minus Counterpart PEROn court +/-per 48 minutesOff court +/-per 48 minutes2 Year Adjusted +/-

Most valuable/utilized lineups:

Ridnour, Johnson, Beasley, Love, Milicic -27 in 241 minutes (-5.4 per 48 minutes)
Ridnour, Johnson, Brewer, Love, Milicic +21 in 61 minutes (+16.5 per 48 minutes)


The Spurs barely escaped their third consecutive loss against Indiana Friday night. The Timberwolves present an easier matchup (the Spurs won all games last year by double digits), but they can’t afford to get outrebounded 59-37 again. If the Spurs can keep the rebounding difference close, their chances are excellent. Minnesota stands a better chance at home on Tuesday, but the Spurs should hold the advantage in that one as well.

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  • rj

    if ricky rubio comes over and kahn doesn’t make more gm errors, this team could have a bright future. i like tiago getting some action in this game.

  • rob

    Spurs 112 / T-Wolves 104

  • LPspursFan

    I’d just like it to not be a nail-biter…know what I mean?

  • ThatBigGuy

    @ rj

    I agree that they have some talented young players. If they can find some sort of team identity, they could be a poor man’s Blazers squad, circa 2007.

    Come on Spurs, let’s smoke them by 20 and let Splitter have the whole 4th quarter to himself.


    Quick question to the forum…..

    Lets revisit a conversation we had before the season started. Of our role players – who will be the next All-Star not named 1 or our Big 3.

  • DBAGuy

    I expect to see some defense on this game, I say Spurs win 102-87…

  • LPspursFan

    TD = BEST EVER…I’d probably go with George Hill…He’s shown an ability to score (and points probably draw the most attention of all-star voters) and he plays solid D


    Let me amend my post by saying franchise level player….. Because not all Franchise Level players (Our Big 3) can be ALL-Stars.

  • ThatBigGuy

    @ TDBE

    I have Gary Neal as my All-Star dark horse. In a couple of seasons, his offensive role could be very much broadened, and I can see him as a poor man’s version of Ray Allen. Imagine what a consistent 32 mpg as a 3rd option would do for his numbers?

    Blair might have the opportunity, but only as a 16/13 6th man. He could possibly carve out a niche as a havoc wreaker off the bench. But he’ll need to develop a consistent 15 foot jumper.

  • LPspursFan

    TD…as in GHill has no shot at ever being an all-star? or as in he isn’t a franchise level player? Guess I’m just not sure where you’re going with this…but I want to participate.


    @ LPspursFan

    No not that Indy G can’t be an ALL Star….
    but as in Manu was a Franchise level player(Key to their success and title hopes) well before he was an ALL Star


    I think Anderson has the best chance at becoming a perennial ALL STAR. With his size and shooting ability. I can see him becoming a Micheal Finley type player or better if he can learn to dribble drive.

    Projected Stats in 3 years – 21.5PPG 4APG

  • DorieStreet


    It will be at guard -Hill, Neal and/or Anderson, but it won’t happen for 2 years- Tony & Manu retiring or taking a backseat (coming off the bench). It won’t be easy in the west–Paul, Williams, Evans, Brooks- and you know who will still get a spot as long as he still walks on the floor at Staples–

  • Jacob

    I like getting Tiago getting some action in ANY game.

    I am not trying to sound negative in the least, to the contrary I am very encouraged by the spurs overall, but I am having to fight irritation off regularly as tiago can’t seem to get in vs the likes of Anthony tolliver. At what point should we as fans expect to see Tiago get in the regular rotation?

    At what point does his absence begin to hamstring our front court development as we push towards tough playoff rotations against better teams?

  • DorieStreet

    @ Jacob

    I echo your sentiments 100%. This inconsistent playing time leads to speculation by fans–is Spitter not grasping the system/ can’t handle substantial court time game-to-game/Pop playin’ possum with him–secret weapon for playoffs???

  • LPspursFan

    Jacob…We are all in agreement that prior to the season, coming off of a 2nd round sweep last year, we were DESPERATE for something, ANYTHING to restore hope that the Spurs could contend for another title before TD21 retires.
    Our first glimmer of hope (besides the health of the Big 3)? Tiago, our 7-footer who we waited 3 years for.
    Then, over the summer, we draft Anderson, find Gary Neal and get a rested TP, TD and Manu, and voila! 31-6 and a renewed hope that we are still contenders.
    So now, Pop is playing with house money. He can work Tiago into the lineup as he sees fit and when he is ready, not when he is forced to or because he has to.
    I also don’t think it hamstrings us in any way because if we are in a game or playoff match-up that he thinks Splitter will help with, he’ll play him.
    So we as fans just get to sit back, enjoy the wins and be subtly surprised when this guy Splitter comes in and scores 18 points.
    Let me say it again…31-6!!! Go Spurs Go!!!

  • DorieStreet

    Check western conference standings–tough going; last 10 games: #1Spurs & #8 Blazers 7-3, teams 2-7 6-4 or 5-5. In the east, Magic & Heat streaking at 9-1, Bulls 7-3. Hawks on an 8-2 run; if they are serious, they should go 8-2 over next 10 (only lose @ Heat & @ Mavs). Let’s sweep Twolves for season –GO SPURS GO!!!!

  • d.iyer

    I am not sure what is going on with Splitter’s playing time. Is he injured? Is there an internal issue? It seems like I haven’t seen him play in over 3 games or so.

    I don’t think Tiago is a secret weapon that Pop can just use during the playoffs. Splitter hasn’t developed yet into an impact player. But he needs court time to do that. I would like to see plays designed for him and give him more responsibility to boost his confidence. This would also allow Timmy and Dice to get some rest.

    If Tiago isn’t an important part of the team by mid-March, we will have a tough time in the playoffs. The Lakers front court is going to be tough to beat in a 7 game series. And if we do happen to reach the finals and play Boston, forget about it. The Celtics are just as deep as we are if not deeper. And they play consistent defense.

    I am not trying to be pessimistic. I enjoy the fact that we are winning and have the best record in the league. But I rather get the wins in June.

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