Minnesota Timberwolves: Twitter Takes Note Of Home-Grown Rotation
The Minnesota Timberwolves mostly home-grown rotation isn’t lost on followers of the club in the Twitterverse.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are a young team on the rise and as such have a strong following–as do many NBA teams–on Twitter.
As part of the first Timberwolves Twitter Tuesday, we’ll look at thoughts on the team submitted to me over the previous week, exploring those thoughts in more detail.
@1ColdTake had a keen observation about the nature of Minnesota’s current nine-man rotation, pointing out that of that group, only Brandon Rush has ever played for another NBA franchise.
— Joel Brand (@1ColdTake) February 27, 2017
The Minnesota Timberwolves current rotation consists of Tyus Jones, Kris Dunn, Ricky Rubio, Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Shabazz Muhammad, Rush, Nemanja Bjelica and Gorgui Dieng. Of those nine, only Rush is older than 28.
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With their average age of 24.67, a main reason for the lack of exposure playing for other teams is the Timberwolves youth.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have also shown the ability to draft NBA caliber players. Everyone in the rotation other than Bjelica and Rush was drafted by the Timberwolves.
This has also left the Timberwolves in a very cap-friendly situation. Shabazz (restricted) and Rush are the only two players who are not under contract beyond this season. This leaves the Timberwolves with up to $29 million to spend this summer to help round out their roster.
Get ready for an exciting offseason.
@AboyRadke shares that Towns and Wiggins have been showing great chemistry together. He believes they are the next Shaq and Kobe.
@Brianball0 The chemistry Towns and Wiggins have been showing together lately makes me very hopeful for the future. The next Shaq and Kobe??
— Jake Radke (@AboyRadke) February 27, 2017
While I am not ready to go so far as Shaq and Kobe, the duo of Wiggins and Towns has certainly been impressive lately. For the month of February, Wiggins is averaging 28.8 points on 51.4 percent shooting. Towns is averaging 28.4 points and 13.3 rebounds on 60.3 percent shooting.
Those are extremely impressive numbers put up by the young Wolves. The pairing of Shaq and Kobe only had one season, 2000-01, where they each averaged more than 28 points a game.
I’m not sure if the Timberwolves’ duo will be able to keep that up the rest of the season. Without Zach LaVine to fill the role as the third scorer, teams are going to hone in on Wiggins and Towns.
At this point in their development the Timberwolves don’t have the complimentary pieces in place to provide sufficient help elsewhere. I am fully expecting teams to begin implementing different strategies, such as double teams, to get the ball out of the hands of Wiggins and Towns.
As noted, Wiggins and Towns are starting to demonstrate some increased chemistry. The play above shows us a basic pick and slip by Towns.
As simple as this play may seem from the outside it is more complicated than it looks. First, Towns recognition to slip to the basket after setting the screen is wise beyond his years. He realizes that the defense is confused about if they should switch or stay on their man.
Secondly, Wiggins is able to use his size to throw the pass over the top of the ensuing double team to a wide open Towns. The timing is the most important part of this play. Wiggins is able to hit Towns before the help side defender can rotate over.
This leads to a semi-easy lay-up for Towns. While certainly not a staple of the offense, plays like this one are becoming more frequent for the Timberwolves.
Last, but not least, we have @REVOLUTIONSOLAR. He predicts that the Timberwolves will win nine to 11 games the rest of the season and finish with 31-33 wins.
— Ken Bradley (@REVOLUTIONSOLAR) February 27, 2017
@REVOLUTIONSOLAR certainly has the potential to be right on this guess. The Timberwolves face a very difficult road ahead. With 22 games remaining, 15 of them will be away from the Target Center, including five of the last six.
Twelve of those 22 games also come against teams who currently have a winning record.
In my 5 Bold Predictions piece I predicted that the Timberwolves would finish with eight victories after the All-Star break. They already have two of those victories accounted for. That means that Ken is a little more optimistic than I am at this point in the season.
The play of Wiggins and Towns may go a long way to change that, however. They have each been playing some of the best basketball of their very young careers. If that play continues the playoffs become a very real possibility for the Timberwolves.
They currently have a record of 24-36 and sit 2.5 games back of the Denver Nuggets for eighth place in the Western Conference.