Add Timberwolves +3 Over Pacers to This Sunday's NBA Picks

Joe Catalano

Sunday, December 21, 2014 5:45 PM GMT

Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014 5:45 PM GMT

Minnesota (5-20) sure miss Kevin Love as they reside in the basement of the Western Conference. Tonight, they face an equally poor  Pacers (8-19) team which has been injury-ridden all season long. 

Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 PM tonight at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This game can be seen on FSN.

5 Dimes Sportsbook lists the Pacers as a 3 point NBA odds road favorite in what should be a close game. The total for the game is listed at 197. Indiana is coming off of a very anemic 73 points in their last game in a loss to another bottom-feeder in the Denver Nuggets. Does Indiana even have the right to be a road favorite at all is the question?

 

How Bad Are They?
In a situation like this, I always start out with that particular question and the T-Wolves are really bad and have been hit by the injury bug. They're without their leading scorer in Kevin Martin, leading rebounder in Nikola Pekovic, and leading playmaker in Ricky Rubio. Injuries can ruin a team's season. In the T-Wolves case, it has enabled Mo Williams and Thaddeus Young to fill starting positions as they are boarderline at best to start on any team in the NBA.

 

A Star Is Born
One positive thing that has come from these injuries is the T-Wolves getting to see just how good that their young talent is. Shabazz Muhmmad has really proven that he was deserving of a 1st round pick last year. The Wolves have had Muhammad coming off the bench and he's been instant offense.

Muhammad's minutes have steadily risen. He's coming off of a 38 minute game against the Boston Celtics in which he shot 11 of 15 from the field for 26 points to go along with 5 rebounds and 5 assists. In Muhammad's last 5 games, he's averaging 20.8 points per game on 52.5% shooting from the field. Muhammad will need to be a full time starter on the Timberwolves as he's their biggest threat on the offensive end.

Minnesota also sports #1 pick Andrew Wiggins (12.3 ppg., 3.8 rpg.) who has shown ability, but will need time to be the star that they think that he'll be and 19 year old Zach LaVine will also need nurturing, but appears to be the real deal.

LaVine has been getting the minutes and is averaging 9 points, 3.5 assists, and 2.5 rebounds in just over 25 minutes per game. The T-Wolves are a mix of young players with veterans and will be a good team in the future, but for now, they will stay at the bottom of the conference standings.

 

Not Their Fault
Obviously, nobody can blame the Pacers for the injuries that they've had to endure and they're just trying to make it through the season with a bunch of complimentary players and have done a decent job up until now. David West has returned to the lineup along with Roy Hibbert, but neither player has provided the same production that they did before.

Hibbert is a different case as he had a horrific season last year, but West has always been a player that Indy could always count on. This season, he leads the Pacers at 12.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 3 assists per game. When your leading scorer is averaging below 13 points per game and the team is averaging 93.3 points collectively, they're not going to win many games and that has been the case for the Pacers. Guys like Donald Sloan, Rodney Stuckey, and C.J. Watson have given respectable efforts, but it just hasn't been enough.

 

Outcome
This game could go either way, but for this NBA pick I'm going to stick with the young talent of Minnesota, getting points, and playing at the Target Center.

Free NBA pick: Minnesota +3 at 5Dimes

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