The rotation may finally be whole. While the starting lineup of the Minnesota Timberwolves has been great for the team almost the entire season, the bench has been pretty tough to handle. As the season has gone on, Rick Adelman has found ways to stagger the substitutions and try to leave at least one of the main scorers (Kevin Love, Nikola Pekovic, Kevin Martin) on the floor with a few members of the bench. But the Wolves’ starters are still averaging more minutes per game than any lineup in the league.
They may finally be getting a little more rest. Ronny Turiaf returned to the team Friday night against the Philadelphia 76ers and Chase Budinger will make his season debut for the Wolves Wednesday night when they face the Phoenix Suns.
Chase Budinger will make his return for the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight against Phoenix, league source tells Yahoo Sports.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) January 8, 2014
Before he went down with a lateral tear in his meniscus last season, Budinger was one of the biggest difference-makers on the squad. When he came back from the injury, he was a bit of a shell of his former self. He shot poorly on the season and never really seemed to get his legs back under him. All of that was supposed to go away when he re-signed with the team this summer and he was able to work out heavily to get in shape. However, right before training camp kicked off, Budinger needed to go back in for surgery and has missed everything up until this point.
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute is still nursing a strained groin, but the Wolves may finally have their full rotation. Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin, Corey Brewer, Kevin Love, and Nikola Pekovic as the starts before they make way for a second unit that could consist of JJ Barea, Chase Budinger, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Dante Cunningham, and Ronny Turiaf. They’ll have Robbie Hummel, Gorgui Dieng, and Alexey Shved to shuffle around the rotation as well. I would imagine Bud will be eased back into the rotation, playing limited minutes while he gets his legs strong again and works the rust off.
As the Wolves have hit the easy part of their schedule and start to put some better performances together, the inconsistency of poor shooting and a bench that can’t score on a regular basis has plagued them and helped keep them from climbing over the .500 hump. Perhaps, that changes tonight when the Wolves face the Suns and finally start to have a full rotation back.