Payne (coach's decision) didn't see the floor in a 101-92 win over the Mavericks on Monday.
Payne has seen a grand total of 22 minutes across three appearances since Nov. 23, and it doesn't appear that he's on track to enter coach Tom Thibodeau's rotation anytime soon. It will likely take several injuries to the Wolves frontcourt before Payne receives extended run in a game.
Payne scored three points with three rebounds in six minutes in Sunday's loss to Golden State.
After praise from head coach Tom Thibodeau in mid-November appeared to signal the possibility of more playing time, Payne has instead languised on the bench as he's played just three times in the last 11 games and hasn't had more than 12 minutes over that span.
Payne scored seven points with three rebounds in a season-high 11 minutes in Tuesday's loss to Charlotte. "He can shoot the ball," head coach Tom Thibodeau told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "He has a physicality to him. There's a defensive mindset to him as well. I was really pleased with the way he played."
Payne has played 20 total minutes in the past two games. While that's not enough minutes for most fantasy leagues, it sounds like there's an opportunity for his role to grow.
Payne is far down on the depth chart, so it's hard to see him having much of a role this season unless injuries strike the frontcourt.
Payne posted 16 points (7-12 FG, 1-4 3Pt, 1-2 FT), three rebounds, two steals and one block across 20 minutes in Sunday's 112-94 preseason loss to the Thunder.
Payne benefited from the Timberwolves resting six key regulars -- including starting big men Karl-Anthony Towns and Gorgui Dieng -- for the game, as he nearly doubled his playing time from his previous two appearances combined. The 25-year-old will be buried on the depth chart once the regular season begins, so it's unlikely that he'll be included in coach Tom Thibodeau's rotation.
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