Utah Jazz (9-8) at Minnesota Timberwolves (5-11)
6 p.m., Target Center
After a pair of home wins, the Utah Jazz are back on the road as they face the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Timberwolves are 5-11 on the season after a 115-102 loss to the Golden State Warriors.
While its record isn't much to look at so far, Minnesota is loaded with young talent. One of its key building blocks is third-year small forward Andrew Wiggins, who is off to a good start offensively thanks to some improved outside shooting, averaging 23.5 points on 39.1 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
Wiggins has been at his best in the five Minnesota wins, putting up 30.6 points on 58 percent shooting from the floor, including 50 percent from 3-point range, according to Basketball-reference.com.
His numbers take a huge dip in the 11 losses where Wiggins is averaging 20.3 points on 36.6 percent shooting.
Charged with slowing Wiggins down will be the Jazz's own talented small forward, Gordon Hayward.
A key for Hayward is to keep Wiggins out of the paint where he finishes at a 60 percent clip from 0-3 feet. It will also be important to keep Wiggins off the foul line. In five wins, Wiggins gets to the line 10.2 times per game compared to 7.1 times a night in the 11 losses.
Another way to help slow Wiggins is to make him work on the defensive end, and Hayward has the skill-set to do that.
Hayward is also off to a good start, averaging 20.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 11 games. But, much like Wiggins, he is much better in the games the Jazz have won.
In the six Utah wins with Hayward on the floor, he is averaging 23.2 points on 46 percent shooting, compared to 16.8 points on 36.6 percent shooting in five losses.