Timberwolves top pick Patton impresses in pro debut

Welcome to the 2017-18 edition of the Timberpups Tracker. This year, we’re taking a different tact. With Minnesota having taken over a G League franchise in Iowa, and renaming it the Wolves, each Thursday we’ll either track the progress of the players who might be of help to the Timberwolves in the future or a current member of the Minnesota roster. We’ll also give updates on the other young players from the previous week.

This is the 3rd edition of the 2017-18 Timberpups Tracker.

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SPOTLIGHT ON …

Center Justin Patton

It didn’t take long for the Timberwolves’ 2017 first-round pick to impress at the professional level. In his debut with the Iowa Wolves of the NBA G League on Friday, Patton scored 15 points and tallied seven rebounds and four blocks — all in just 16 minutes.

And in his next game two days later, Patton added 13 points and two rebounds in 17 minutes.

He also threw down this monster slam. Whoa!

There’s not a timetable established for Patton’s debut with the Timberwolves, but the way he’s began his G League stint — and considering Minnesota’s thirst for help off the bench — there’s a chance Patton could contribute to the team by the end of the year.

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TRACKING TIMBERPUPS

— Karl-Anthony Towns and Philadelphia center Joel Embiid exchanged snarky responses on Instagram after the 76ers topped Minnesota at the Target Center on Tuesday. All in good fun, of course. Despite Embiid’s comments, Towns has stepped up his game defensively with seven blocks (including a couple on Embiid) and nine steals in the last three games. And on the offensive end? Spectacular per usual: Towns has a double-double in 10 of his last 12 contests.

— Seven players (Elijah Millsap, Amile Jefferson, Shawne Williams, Anthony Brown, Melo Trimble, Patton and Perry Jones III) scored in double figures in Iowa’s 117-98 victory over Memphis on Wednesday. Trimble, who you may remember from his time at Maryland, has played 38+ minutes in seven of 11 games this season, a stat that head coach Tom Thibodeau probably likes to hear.

— Andrew Wiggins continues to struggle a bit scoring the basketball, his greatest asset on the floor. Since sinking 4 of 8 attempts from deep Dec. 1, Wiggins is 2 of 20 (10 percent). His season percentage is back down near a 30-percent clip, right around his previous career mark before Wiggins made the big jump to 35.6 percent last year.