PHOENIX – A two-time Olympian for Canada and coach of their national team now twice as well, Phoenix interim head coach Jay Triano well knows the basketball history of his country.
That means he knows a lot about the Timberwolves’ Andrew Wiggins as well.
When he was coaching with the Toronto Raptors more than a decade ago, he remembers the thumping Wiggins put on his son Dustin’s team.
“They’re pretty much the same age, the same league, and he was dominating,” Triano said about Wiggins before Saturday’s Suns-Wolves game. “Running up and down the court doing things nobody had ever seen a 10-year-old do. So I’ve always been a fan of his obviously. He’s just one of the great players of all time in Canada and I think worthy of his contract he just signed. He’s got a great skillset and [he’s] a proud Canadian.”
Wiggins doesn’t remember those games but surmises Triano must be remembering an Ontario inter-province league in which Wiggins played.
When told Triano mostly remembers Wiggins dominating, Wiggins said, “I don’t remember it, but it sounds about right.”
Back in the NBA
Timberwolves guard Marcus Georges-Hunt was back in uniform and available for Saturday’s game at Phoenix, two days after he played a one-game assignment in Prescott Valley, Ariz., with the new Iowa Wolves team in the G League.
He played 11 minutes in the Timberwolves’ first 11 games, but played 39 ½ minutes and scored 34 points against the Northern Arizona Suns on Thursday night. He called himself “kind of sore” after the game but said he felt “great” by the time he rejoined the Timberwolves for practice in Phoenix on Friday.
“I wanted to see where I was at mentally, physically, just my overall game,” he said. “I haven’t really been up and down like that in a while. I got to see where I’m at and I got the answers I was looking for. It felt great.”
Like his grandfather?
Wolves point guard Tyus Jones remembered his late grandfather on Saturday, Veteran’s Day. Dennis Deutsch was an Army paratrooper who inspired Jones to become an ambassador for the United Heroes League, a Twin Cities-based nonprofit organization that provides free sports equipment, game tickets, cash grants and summer camps to military members’ children.
The organization’s Board of Legends includes Minnesota hockey’s Lou Nanne, Tom Reid and Phil Housley and their ambassadors include dozens of NHL players as well as NFL and major league baseball players. Jones is the only NBA player.
Asked if he’d be inclined to leap from planes like his grandfather did, Jones said: “That is actually not in my DNA. I would be OK if I never did that.”
Back together again
Saturday’s game again reunited Karl-Anthony Towns and Devin Booker, teammates for a season at Kentucky who see each other as often as they can during summers.
“He’s like my brother,” Towns said. “We’re best friends. Our families are super close. Whenever we get a chance we’re talking to each other every day, even during the season. It doesn’t matter, we find different ways to get together in the summer.”
• Wolves reserve center Gorgui Dieng was in uniform but not expected to play Saturday because of a sprained right index finger he suffered in Wednesday’s loss at Golden State. Backup center Cole Aldrich was in the same position because of a sprained ankle.
• Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau attended Friday’s Orlando-Suns game in Phoenix on “Decades Night” that celebrated the 1960s and ’70s in this 50th anniversary Suns season. “Good crowd, good game and the music was right in my wheelhouse, so it was perfect,” he said.