In a league that is migrating to a more Popovichian rest schedule, Sam Mitchell is keeping it old school.
With the Timberwolves readying for a stretch in which they play seven games in 10 days, Mitchell isn't worrying about his young players or his old ones—and he certainly has old ones. Andre Miller, Kevin Garnett and Tayshaun Prince are all closer to retirement than to their rookie years. Garnett actually sat out the second half of back-to-backs last season, and got to choose his own resting schedule with the Nets.
Garnett has played in every available game so far this year. He'd be the most likely candidate to sit some contests during this time. Prince has played legitimate minutes in all six games. Miller, meanwhile, almost never plays anyways.
So with two 30-something veterans in his starting lineup, Mitchell said he has no plans to adjust his lineups and/or rotations to contest Father Time unless …
The exceptions: If the first of consecutive games is a blowout either way or if either 35-year-old Tayshaun Prince or 39-year-old Kevin Garnett tells him otherwise the next morning.
“We’re not worried about back-to-backs,” he said. “We got to worry about the game tonight. Why would I worry about a game that’s tomorrow? We’ll worry about that then. You’ve got to try to win the game at hand.”
Garnett didn’t play some back-to-back games in the past two seasons. Asked if he will do so this season, Mitchell said, “It depends how many minutes we play him the first game. We’re not going to change his amount of minutes so it just depends on how he feels. … We have a plan how we’re going to manage his minutes in back to backs.”