Areas Of Strength
After years of rebuilding, the Minnesota Timbrewolves finally got it right after landing franchise bedrocks Karl-Anthony Towns (No. 1 pick, 2015 Draft) and Andrew Wiggins (No. 1, 2014 Draft). That allowed them to massage the roster by adding veterans (Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson and Jeff Teague) and end Minnesota’s 13-season playoff drought. At this point, the Wolves will look to upgrade all positions, especially on the front line. When the starting lineup is virtually set, that’s a sign of true progress for a team accustomed to drafting high.
The Wolves signed Derrick Rose at midseason because they weren’t sold on their depth at point guard. Rose played well in his twilight but is hardly the future. Surprisingly, his addition came at a cost to Tyus Jones, who was projected as a possible future starter when the Wolves traded for him on Draft night in 2015. Minnesota could also use a power forward to push Gibson for minutes. Lastly, should they re-sign Jamal Crawford? If not, then a points-producing sixth man is needed, too.
Two Stats That Matter
1,131 -- Though Jimmy Butler missed six weeks after the All-Star break, the Wolves' starting lineup played more minutes (1,131) than any other lineup in the league. Butler ranked third in minutes per game, while Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns ranked third and seventh, respectively in total minutes.
26.1 -- Only 26.1 percent of the Wolves' shots, the lowest rate in the league, came from 3-point range.
-- John Schuhmann
The Way To Go
Shake Milton, a big guard from SMU, would appear to be the type of player coach Tom Thibodeau would like. The 6-foot-5 guard can defend multiple positions while he learns the ropes from Butler. Another possibility is Keita Bates-Diop, the bouncy 6-foot-8 player from Ohio State who can play both forward positions and is solid defensively. Either would be good additions and allow the Wolves to bring them along slowly through player development.
2017-18 Team Stats (points per 100 possessions, with NBA rank)
Offensive: 110.8 (4th)
Defensive: 108.4 (23rd)
G: Jeff Teague
G: Tyus Jones
F: Taj Gibson
F: Andrew Wiggins
C: Cole Aldrich
C: Gorgui Dieng
C: Justin Patton
C: Karl-Anthony Towns
G: Aaron Brooks (unrestricted)
G: Jamal Crawford (unrestricted)
G: Marcus Georges-Hunt (restricted)
F: Nemanja Bjelica (unrestricted)
F: Anthony Brown (restricted)
F: Amile Jefferson (restricted)
Recent Draft History
2017: Lauri Markkanen (7), traded to Chicago
2016: Kris Dunn (5)
2015: Karl-Anthony Towns (1), Cedi Osman (31), traded to Cleveland; Rakeem Christmas (36), traded to Cleveland
2014: Zach LaVine (13), Glenn Robinson III (40), Markel Brown (44), traded to Brooklyn; Alessandro Gentile (53)
2013: Trey Burke (9), traded to Utah; Andre Roberson (26), traded to Oklahoma City; Lorenzo Brown (52); Bojan Dublijevic (59)
2012: Robbie Hummel (58)
-- Shaun Powell