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A new day: Brooklyn Nets open new era against Minnesota Timberwolves

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Minnesota Timberwovles v Golden State Warriors Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The wait is over.

It's the dawn of a new day. After the most successful offseason in franchise history, the Brooklyn Nets come into the 2019-2020 campaign looking to climb the standings as well as make a long lasting impression around the NBA. The team is looking good, the fans are excited, and we'll be here at NetsDaily to document every moment. Let's get it.

Bringing in the new season at Barclays with the Nets will be the Minnesota Timberwolves. It's been a hectic few seasons for the Wolves, and they hope this season will be quiet and drama free. The franchise has only made the playoffs once without Kevin Garnett in their entire history and they're hoping to change that as soon as possible.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip off after 7:30.

Injuries

Kevin Durant's out of course. Wilson Chandler starts game one of his PED-related suspension. He'll be back in mid December. In an interview on WFAN, Kenny Atkinson was asked if KD will be back this season. “As of now, no. So, that’s kind of where we are.”

Everybody's ready for Minnesota.

The game

The thing about having a higher profile is that more eyes are on you and how you respond will shape a myriad of relationships going forward. The Nets were in China during the international incident sparked by Daryl Morey’s tweet from a few weeks ago, and while we still haven’t heard from Morey, the block is still hot for everyone else. Protesters were at Friday’s preseason finale against the Toronto Raptors, and will likely be a regular presence at Nets games going forward. Since it’s Opening Night, Joe Tsai will likely be in the house. I’m sure he’ll be asked about it and everything else related to the NBA x China saga.

On Monday, Rodinis Kurucs went to criminal court for the alleged domestic violence incident between he and his partner from the summer. He'll be back in court on November 21. The league hasn't suspended players in the past when they've dealt with court proceedings, so that will likely continue as the case proceeds.

Welcome to the Kyrie Irving show. Now that the lights are bright, Irving will get to wow his new fans here in Brooklyn. One area in which he’ll pay dividends is in shots inside of five feet. As a team, the Nets were near the bottom of the league in field goal percentage inside of five feet. Irving has a history of great finishes at the rim, and that should open things up for Kenny Atkinson’s offense. Jeff Teague will get the first crack at Irving, and Ryan Saunders figures to throw a bevy of looks at Irving throughout the night. Look for Josh Okogie to get a lot of time on Irving.

It's been five seasons, and the best we can say about Andrew Wiggins is he's durable. He’s only missed ten games in five seasons and is consistently one of the league leaders in minutes per game. The big problem is he hasn’t been able to put together a good season yet despite all of the opportunities presented to him thus far. Wiggins was a little annoyed that he didn’t rate among the Top 100 players in ESPN’s annual rankings, but he’s got to start putting good, consistent play together if he wants to earn that respect. It’s been long enough.

Shabazz Napier and Treveon Graham, sent from the Nets to Golden State in the Durant deal, eventually got shipped to Minnesota and make their returns to Brooklyn on Wednesday.

Player to watch: Karl-Anthony Towns

Let me tell you a story. There is a former number one pick that has only missed five games in four seasons, has been to the All Star Game twice, and has established himself as arguably the best shooting big man in the game. On top of that, the local community likes him and he's an engaging personality in his own right. Sounds like you'd be satisfied with all that, right? Normally yes, but it always feels like Karl-Anthony Towns can do just a little bit more. That’s a bit unfair to him as he’s been excellent since he walked into the NBA from Kentucky, but that’s the life of a franchise player. If he has his way, one day he’ll get to team up with his homeboys again, but that’s going to take time and a lot of financial maneuvering.

Back on the court, KAT has gradually expanded his range each year in the league and averaged a career high in three point rate last year. Having that ability to expand the floor, post up, and find open teammates puts KAT one step above most of his peers.

There isn't a set starter at center yet, so DeAndre Jordan and Jarrett Allen will tag team KAT. Allen only played against Towns once last year and fouled out in 26 minutes of action. Jordan has more experience guarding Towns dating back to his time with the Los Angeles Clippers so if I had to guess, DJ will get the majority of the minutes guarding the big guy. Either way, Kenny Atkinson has two solid options for all 48 minutes of the game.

From the Vault

I mean, it IS true: all the critics love u in New York.

And yesterday would have been Drazen Petrovic’s 55th birthday. Let’s remember Petro by looking back at one of his best games from his final season.

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