The injuries and illnesses that have hit the Timberwolves over the past few weeks have opened up some opportunities to play for those who were previously sitting at the end of the bench.
Rookie guard Leandro Bolmaro entered the rotation at Philadelphia on Nov. 27 and hasn't left.
With center Karl-Anthony Towns out against Brooklyn on Friday, the Wolves needed to lean on their frontcourt depth. That's where Nathan Knight entered and saw his first significant minutes of the season.
Knight played 13 minutes, 31 seconds against the Nets, collecting three points and five rebounds.
"He's been great," coach Chris Finch said. "It's kind of a mantra, but you've just got to stay patient with your opportunities. It's going to come, whether sickness or injury or whatever, it's going to present itself. Now, having seen him out there for an extended period of time, it's up to us to figure out with as creative ways as we can get to get lineups with him in it."
Knight, who went to William and Mary, played 33 games last season for the Hawks, the Wolves' Monday opponent, and averaged 8.5 minutes and 3.8 points before signing with the Wolves on a two-way deal for this season. He played in eight other games during mop-up duty before impressing Finch and the staff on Saturday with his defense and rebounding.
"That's just a line that every NBA player walks, the idea that you have to stay ready," Knight said. "The opportunities are few and come to those who work. I knew it was going to come. I just had to control what I could control and do whatever I could to impact winning, whether that is playing extended minutes or high-fiving my teammates when they come off the floor or being the best communicator I could be."
Knight said while he bided his time, the coaching staff has been "extremely transparent" about their expectations for him.
"Be a professional, stay ready at all times and control my controllables," Knight said. "I put big trust into the coaching staff and this front office on what their plans are for me."
The Wolves got a few players back in their lineup Monday night. Towns and forward Jaden McDaniels returned, but guard D'Angelo Russell was out because of right ankle soreness.
McDaniels returned after missing three games because of the flu-like illness that lingered around the team. McDaniels didn't make the recent two-game road trip to Washington and Brooklyn.
Finch said McDaniels lost 10 pounds.
"He was in bed for several days," Finch said. "Couldn't get out. Wasn't really in any shape to join the team."
Guard Patrick Beverley (adductor strain) sat out, but was listed on the injury report as questionable before the game. Beverley was able to scrimmage against some of the Wolves reserves and coaches on Monday, which he also did Friday in Brooklyn.
"He had a really good run. He's inching closer and closer," Finch said.
With Russell and Beverley out, Bolmaro made his first start at point guard.