MINNEAPOLIS -- The start of Monday’s game between the Timberwolves and Bucks was delayed for about 50 minutes because of a bent rim on one of the hoops at Target Center.
The rim was identified as faulty by referee Kane Fitzgerald as part of a routine pregame check that occurred just before the original tip time of 7:10 p.m.
The fix was to replace the entire basket. That required taking all of the mounted cameras off the existing backboard before taking that down and moving in the new basket, to which all of the cameras and tech was reapplied.
After all of that was down, players re-emerged from the locker room to warm up for a second time before the game finally got rolling.
Coach Ryan Saunders won’t declare what Jarrett Culver did Saturday as a “breakout game,” even after the rookie wing had 20 points, including four 3-pointers, in Minnesota’s blowout road win over the Wizards.
“Because what that does, that just puts pressure on somebody for the next game,” Saunders said.
But the coach did admit it was nice to see the rookie show some of what he can do.
“The way he defended, the way he communicated, the way he handled and found his teammates off some pick and rolls, those are things that we have known that he is going to be very good at in this league,” Saunders said. “It was nice for him to make steps.”
Fans certainly liked to see it. The rookie, selected No. 6 overall by Minnesota in this summer’s NBA draft, was off to a shaky start through four games, but that didn’t bother him much.
“You go through ups and downs throughout the season, and it’s a long season,” Culver said. “I’m a rookie, so I’m staying true to the process. I know I’m going to have downs, but I’m also going to have ups, so just staying level headed, staying humble and just keep working.”
Teammates have seen that work in practice on a daily basis. Andrew Wiggins said the rookie has played well there. Wiggins noted it’s hard for a rookie to come in and figure out where he can be most effective on the court.
“I think he’s done a good job of coming in and figuring that out in every game,” Wiggins said. “He’s going to be a special piece to us.”
Every time Culver goes to check in, Wiggins tells him one simple message: “Be aggressive.”
“He shows you a lot in practice, and he’s a hell of a player,” Wiggins said. “I know what he’s capable of on the floor.”
Butler on Miami
Jimmy Butler was criticized by many for his decision to sign with Miami this summer. Throughout his time in Minnesota and Philadelphia, Butler talked about winning as his priority.
Surely, he wouldn’t win big with a team that missed the playoffs the year before.
But Miami was 5-1 as of Monday.
“(People) act like I’m not a good basketball player,” Butler told Yahoo Sports. “Like for real. Just think about that. Like I can’t come in and make a huge difference. I’m not going to say ‘carry a team’ because nobody can do it by themselves, and I mean that. I’m not putting it all on myself, but I know what I’m capable of. I know what I bring to any and all situations, and the group of guys that we have is the group of guys that I want to play with.
“When I look down the line and as we’re talking about it as an organization on this roster, I know what these guys are capable of. These guys are built like me. We’re one in the same and so they’re only going to get better and they’re not going to get complacent. This is me. I see myself in every one of these guys around this locker room.”
Butler also noted he wanted to be traded to Miami when he wanted out of Minnesota, but he of course was instead sent to the 76ers.
Many assumed Butler would re-sign with the 76ers this offseason, but Butler told Yahoo Sports there was an incident that led to his departure.
“Stuff just don’t work out. Nobody knows what really went on in Philly, and we’re going to leave it that way,” Butler told Yahoo Sports. “But it was a great opportunity for me.”