Good things come in 3s: Trio of new Wolves hit ground running
We’re still in the early returns, but so far a trio of new Timberwolves are fitting in very nicely in Minnesota.
The Wolves churned their roster at the NBA trade deadline in an effort to get players who fit their new style of offense under head coach Ryan Saunders.
Thus far, Malik Beasley, Juan Hernangomez and D’Angelo Russell in particular are looking like smart acquisitions.
Among all the NBA players who changed uniforms on Feb. 5-6 no one has averaged more points with their new team than Russell (24.0 ppg). Beasley (22.0) is third on that list (just behind Andrew Wiggins’ 22.8 with Golden State) and Hernangomez (15.0) is sixth).
Three-pointers are a big reason for the scoring success of those three. And that fits into the new-look Wolves, who are averaging 39.7 3-point attempts per game. In 2018-19, Minnesota had 28.7 3 attempts per contest. The 11.0 increase is the most of any NBA team from last season.
In his two games with Minnesota, Russell has made 8 of 17 (47.1%) shots from downtown. He was taking 9.5 3-point attempts with the Warriors over his 33 games there, which was nearly two more per game than he had in 2018-19, when he had a career high 7.8 per game.
Beasley has been unleased from behind the arc. He was averaging just 1.4 makes on 3.9 attempts per game with Denver this season (2.0-5.0 in 2018-19). In his three games thus far with Minnesota, he’s 14 of 33 (42.4%), which averages out to 4.7-11.0.
That pace might be tough to keep up – only two players in the NBA average 10+ 3s per game: Houston’s James Harden (12.8) and Portland’s Damian Lillard (10.0). But, for now, why fix it if it ain’t broke?
While Beasley might be on the verge of breaking out down the stretch, but that’s nothing compared to Hernangomez in this admittedly small-sample size.
In 2018-19 with Denver, Hernangomez set career highs in minutes (19.4), 3-point makes (0.9) and attempts (2.6) as well as points (5.8). As we noted above, he’s nearly tripled his point output with the Wolves and has made 6 of 14 (42.9%) 3-point attempts (averages of 2.0-4.7). Hernangomez had but 15 made 3s in 34 games with the Nuggets before the deadline deal.
We know it’s still early, but you have to like the results so far for Minnesota.
Statistics courtesy Sportradar and basketball-reference.com