Stifling Anthony Edwards, Fred VanVleet's scoring among keys vs. Timberwolves
Imman Adan is joined by Kashtin to preview the Raptors' Saturday night tilt against the Timberwolves and the keys to a win. Listen to the full episode on the 'Raptors Over Everything' podcast feed.
IMMAN ADAN: What are your thoughts? What are you looking for in that game?
KASHTIN: So there's a-- an athletic writer, John Kay, I can't pronounce his last name. Forgive me, I'm not a professional in this. But, he has--
IMMAN ADAN: Nike
KASHTIN: Yes. He has made me invested in--
IMMAN ADAN: Not from "The Office." Sorry.
KASHTIN: No, no. Not of Jim and Pam fame, of the soap opera that is this Timberwolves season. I'm fascinated by them. I think KAT's been-- pretty serious injury. So they've kind of re-imagined what this team looks like, and just from a team-building perspective, every time I feel that pang of worry about the Raptors and what will they do next season, I think about how the Timberwolves have committed their entire decade to these three. And what-- they've only played 20 games together and they have no idea if it works.
So just grass isn't always totally greener, but for this match-up, again, very similar to the OKC Thunder. This is a team that wants to be in the mix playoff-wise. And if they-- I think we're going to have a really fun game. Anthony Edwards is always on the hunt for a poster, and I'm worried for Jakob. We saw what Yuta Watanabe went through. Jakob has been on the other side-- I mean he got his bit of revenge tonight on Shai, but
IMMAN ADAN: That was spectacular. I felt I was so conflicted. I was like I know I feel like a traitor but I mean, Jak's my guy. Sorry, Shai.
KASHTIN: Well, I mean, if she doesn't want to get dunked on by Jakob, he knows what he can do.
IMMAN ADAN: [INAUDIBLE] body, and, oh, and got an-- and fell on, like--
KASHTIN: Yeah that's tough.
IMMAN ADAN: Dropped him too. He had a game.
KASHTIN: That's tough. I mean he knows what he needs to do if he doesn't want it to happen to him. But, yeah. So I think what this Timberwolves match-up, I think they have a really great defender in the McDaniels twin, and that's going to be a really tough match-up for Pascal. Jaden McDaniels is a really great defender. And I think for the Raptors to really Excel in this one, they're going to need to win that match-up.
And the other thing too is, Chris Finch and Nick Nurse have a very similar stylistic approach to the game. So I would expect, again, a very interesting clash of styles. So I think, I say what you would about the play in tournament play, and for what. It's setting up a lot of really interesting basketball games and I'm pretty happy with that, at least.
IMMAN ADAN: Yeah, no, I completely agree with you. I think the Ant. I think how do you-- it'll be fun to watch what the Raptors do to try to contain him, but I agree with you that McDaniels, Siakam there, also watching Jakob against different team centers has kind of been one thing that I've just enjoyed seeing 'cause like, any time I looked at a game-- they were going up against a big center I was like, all right.
It's kind of over for the Raptors. I don't see how-- like, I just imagine Rudy Gobert, obviously not the sort of offensive center that you think is going to light you up like Vuc has done, or Steven Adams just crazy on the boards has done. But like any time you go up against a big 7-footer you're just kind of like, how are the Raptors going to disappoint me now?
How is their lack of center going to show its face here? And for Rudy Gobert, obviously, he is one of the league's best rim protectors ever. So it'd be really interesting to see how the Raptors-- is their outside shooting going to maintain. Is that something that they can sort of bring forward into the next game, and also how does Jak fare in that match-up?
KASHTIN: Well, I think Jakob and Rudy Gobert is a match-up-- the biggest beneficiary of that is Fred VanVleet to me. Because they're going to have Rudy Gobert and--
IMMAN ADAN: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.
KASHTIN: And Fred is going to have some open looks, I would say. To say the least.
IMMAN ADAN: Yeah. [INAUDIBLE] going to be there.
KASHTIN: Oh, yeah, and if Fred's hitting those, then the whole dominoes-- row of dominoes fall from there. So I'm pretty excited for it. From people covering the Timberwolves, what they seem to say is Rudy Gobert isn't quite at a high level of defensive productivity, blocking shots, but I mean like you said, he's still that force to be reckoned with at the rim. So--
IMMAN ADAN: He's such a good turn. I think his presence-- like I've only caught a few Timberwolves game, but I've noticed that like, guys are still-- I think reputation is so much in the league, right? Like, it doesn't matter if Fred VanVleet has not shot the ball well all year, he's still going to be guarded up there. No one's going to let him have that. And that's kind of same thing with Rudy Gobert, you see him there and you're like, oh, that's Gobert, I don't know. That's a 7-footer. Yeah, like, what do you do?
KASHTIN: Still a big man. Also, as an aside, I love that he loves bees. That's just--
IMMAN ADAN: Is that a thing?
KASHTIN: Yeah, he's really into like-- he has an apiary. He's just like a bee guy.
IMMAN ADAN: Why did he leave Utah? Utah, isn't that the bee-- I learned that because of their jerseys, because I was like, what is this black and yellow? What are the Jazz--
KASHTIN: Is it really about bees?
IMMAN ADAN: They're the bee state.
KASHTIN: No kidding?
IMMAN ADAN: Yeah.
KASHTIN: Get out. No way.
IMMAN ADAN: The Utah-- Utah is a bee state. I was like, I didn't know that. Yeah.
KASHTIN: Do you know what's so funny? As quick-- complete tangent, I love how much I learn from Utah through their jerseys. The deserts the wonderful sort of sunset--
IMMAN ADAN: It tells a story.
KASHTIN: --like the bees, because, wow, I just thought--
IMMAN ADAN: It was--
KASHTIN: --it was--
IMMAN ADAN: --black and yellow. It was so weird. I was just like what are you doing?
KASHTIN: I mean--
IMMAN ADAN: And then--
KASHTIN: --fair enough.
IMMAN ADAN: I learned the bee state.
KASHTIN: Bee state, I mean, hey, it's everything but Jazz. But like I think this match-up, I'm actually-- I'm going to be at that game on Saturday. What I'm looking for, again, is just like do they play together? The Timberwolves similarly to the OKC Thunder, play a really fast pace, do they match that? Because I think the Raptors have the athletes to match it. One common refrain I see is, why don't we play at a faster pace? I think they'll have an opponent that will let them and just have to take advantage. So--
IMMAN ADAN: I mean.
IMMAN ADAN: I completely agree with you there. I'm hoping for a win because it's my birthday, guys. Just like, be nice to me. Because you know what? My last birthday? Russell Westbrook hit that 3. Do you remember? That was the best Scottie Barnes game.
KASHTIN: Oh God that--
IMMAN ADAN: It still sort of lives in infamy in my brain, but then Russell Westbrook decided to ruin it by hitting, I don't know, his one 3-pointer of the year.