Timberwolves Illustrations

Mailbag | Point Guard Talk & More

by Kyle Ratke, Digital Content Manager

Digital Content Manager

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Good question. A lot of it has to do with matchups. If the opposing team has four guards and a forward out there, it doesn’t make much sense to play both Taj Gibson and Karl-Anthony Towns, although that would create mismatches on the other end.

The starting unit of Jeff Teague, Andrew Wiggins, Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson and Karl-Anthony Towns is the easy answer, but the flexibility of Nemanja Bjelica and the fact the he’s shooting a 52.9 percent from the 3-point line gives Tom Thibodeau plenty of options. He’s a guy who can play the three or the four. Again, it’s something that all comes down to matchups and what the other team has out there.

Sure, Butler’s scoring numbers aren’t what they’ve been in the past, but he’s never had talent like Towns, Wiggins and Teague on his team to help carry the load.

But he’s also one of six players who are averaging 15 points, five rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game. The others? Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic, DeMarcus Cousins, Ben Simmons and Russell Westbrook. That’s not bad company.

More than scoring, Butler is here to defend, rebound and make plays for the Wolves. And with the team averaging 108 points per game, scoring isn’t the problem. The team needed Butler's toughness and overall attitude. It's a huge reason why the team is currently third in the West.

How have the offseason decisions at point guard impacted the team so far? - Nick L. (via email)

The Wolves did an overhaul at the point guard position this offseason. Last season, Ricky Rubio was the starter and Kris Dunn was the backup. This year, the Wolves have Jeff Teague as the leader and Tyus Jones at backup. Let’s compare the two groups.

Teague: 13.9 PPG, 7.4 APG, 3.1 RPG, 1.8 SPG, 41.9 FG%, 41.9 3P%, 15.2 PER
Rubio: 13.6 PPG, 5.5 APG, 3.7 RPG, 1.9 SPG, 37.3 FG%,  25.7 3P%, 13.8 PER

Jones: 14.4 MPG, 3.1 PPG, 2.1 APG, 1.4 RPG, 39.5 FG%, 33.3 3P%, 9.7 PER
Dunn: 26 MPG, 9.8 PPG, 3.4 APG, 4.5 RPG, 2.0 SPG, 38.6 FG%, 28.6 3P%, 8.6 PER

For Jones and Dunn, it’s worth noting Dunn is playing more minutes than Jones.

It’s early yet, but the Wolves have to be happy with their moves thus far. Dunn has played solid in his eight games in Chicago, but considering he was a piece in the trade that got the Wolves Butler and the fact that Jones has been more than capable as a backup point guard, #noregrets.