Wolves rookie Culver impresses at point in first start

With an established star and several young talents to build around, the Minnesota Timberwolves are attempting to establish themselves as a playoff contender once again.

From established players like Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins to newcomers like Josh Okogie and Jarrett Culver, we’re taking a weekly look at the present, and future, of the Wolves.

Each Thursday we’ll also track the progress of the Iowa Wolves standouts who might be of help to the Wolves in the future, or a current member of Minnesota’s roster.

This is the first edition of the 2019-20 Young Wolves Tracker.

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Spotlight on …

Guard Jarrett Culver

Culver’s first career start ended in a disappointing road loss for the 4-3 Wolves, but the sixth overall pick showed major promise for shorthanded Minnesota.

The Wolves’ starting point guard with Jeff Teague and Shabazz Napier out, Culver played a career-high 30 minutes Wednesday in the Wolves’ loss to Memphis.

Culver and Wiggins spent much of the night powering the offense in Karl-Anthony Towns’ first game back from his two-game suspension.

Culver assisted on three Wiggins buckets and set up four 3s on the night, finishing with a game-high seven dimes after posting just five assists in his first six games combined.

He went 5-for-13 from the field with a pair of 3s for 15 points, adding five rebounds with no turnovers.

Wiggins thrived alongside the rookie, scoring a season-high 30 points on 52.4% shooting with six assists, two steals and a block.

The Wolves began ramping up Culver’s playing time in their first game without Towns. He played 26 minutes Saturday, scoring a career-high 20 points with five rebounds and four 3s in a 131-109 win over Washington.

Drafted as a wing, Culver’s versatility isn’t a new development.

He did it all as a sophomore at Texas Tech last season, running the Red Raiders’ offense with a team-leading 18.5 points and 3.7 assists per game on a 32.2 usage rate.

With the Wolves already thin at the position, point-Culver could get more run in the future.

Wolf Tracks

— Wiggins is off to a promising start. He’s averaging 22.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists through seen games, while shooting 44.7% with a career-high 2.3 3s per game.

— Towns scored 25 points on 8-of-19 shooting in his first game back with 13 rebounds, two assists and two blocks. He went just 3-for-11 from deep.

— Rookie Jaylen Nowell, a second-round pick, saw the floor for the first time in the Wolves’ loss to Memphis, playing just over a minute.

— Minnesota’s G League affiliate, the Iowa Wolves, fell to the Windy City Bulls in their final preseason game Friday. Rookie center Naz Reid tied for the team lead in scoring with 14 points, six rebounds and six assists, going 4-for-8 from deep.

— Point guard Jordan McLaughlin, signed to a two-way contract in July, led Iowa with seven assists.