Newly acquired Beasley makes strong first impression on Wolves
President of basketball operations Gersson Rosas has a vision for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Rosas made it clear at the 2020 trade deadline that drastic changes needed to happen, as he completed multiple deals to usher in a new era of Wolves basketball. Suddenly, the Timberwolves are bursting with intriguing young talent that surrounds an All-Star duo in Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell.
Each Thursday, we’ll be tracking the progress of these young players while also keeping up with the G League Iowa Wolves to see who will rise to the challenge of bringing a consistent, winning team to Minnesota.
This is the 14th edition of the 2019-20 Young Wolves Tracker. Note: The Tracker will return in two weeks after the All-Star break.
Spotlight on …
Guard Malik Beasley
You know what they say — you only get one chance at a first impression.
And, boy, did Beasley make quite the impression with the Timberwolves.
In his Minnesota debut on Saturday night, Beasley drained a career-high seven 3-pointers, leading the charge as the Wolves set a new franchise single-game record with 26 3s. Then on Monday in Toronto, Beasley sunk another pair of triples and scored 15 points and grabbed four rebounds. And, finally, in his third game with Minnesota, Beasley poured in 28 points (and nailed five more 3-pointers) Wednesday night against Charlotte.
The 28-point performance ranks second in his career behind only a 35-point effort for Denver last season.
Acquired from the Nuggets as a part of the monster four-team trade on Feb. 5, Beasley, the 23-year-old guard out of Florida State, has been champing at the bit for a bigger role for years.
Beasley played sparingly over his first two seasons with the Nuggets, averaging 3.3 points in less than nine minutes per game from 2016-18.
His role increased last season. Beasley logged a career-high 11.3 points in 23.2 minutes per contest while shooting 40.2% from 3-point range, which ranked fifth in the NBA among players with 400+ attempts.
But his real breakout moment occurred last year in January and February when Beasley started 18 games for the Nuggets due to a flurry of injuries to their guards. In those 18 games, Beasley played 31.8 minutes per contest and registered 15.9 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists. He also nailed 54 of 108 attempts from 3-point range — yep, that’s good for 50%.
This young man is about to be paid.
Beasley is set to be a restricted free agent after this season and appears to be looking for a long-term commitment, as he reportedly turned down a three-year deal worth $30 million with the Nuggets last fall.
Beasley’s career 38.4% 3-point clip is a perfect fit for Rosas’ vision for the franchise.
We might be watching Beasley knock down 3s in Minnesota for a long, long time.
— First off, we’d like to welcome a small army of young players who have been added to the Young Wolves Tracker after last week’s trade deadline: Beasley, Jacob Evans (22), Juancho Hernangomez (24), D’Angelo Russell (23), Omari Spellman (22) and Jarred Vanderbilt (20).
— Of the 17 players currently listed on the Timberwolves roster, 14 are 25 years old or younger. The three players who aren’t: Allen Crabbe (27), Evan Turner (31) and James Johnson (32). And Minnesota is still deciding on what to do with Turner, who has yet to suit up for the Wolves.
— Russell’s first two games with Minnesota: 24.0 points, 8.0 assists, 1.5 steals per game. He’s shot 16 of 25 from the field (45.7%) and 8 of 17 from downtown (47.1%).
— Another former Nuggets player in search of a bigger role, Hernangomez has started all three of his games with the Timberwolves and has logged 15 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 30.0 minutes per contest. A career 35.2% 3-point shooter, Hernangomez has sunk 6 of 14 attempts from deep with the Wolves.
— Karl-Anthony Towns is 14 made 3-pointers away from surpassing Andrew Wiggins to become the franchise’s all-time leader in 3s.