Wolves rookie Okogie rising with Covington sidelined
Minnesota Timberwolves aren’t exactly Timberpups anymore. Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins are well into their NBA careers at this point, while the Wolves’ lineup features seven players with 5-plus years of experience.
Welcome to the 2018-19 edition of the Young Wolves Tracker, formerly the Timberpups Tracker.
Each Thursday we’ll either track the progress of the Iowa Wolves players who might be of help to the Timberwolves in the future, or a current member of Minnesota’s roster. We’ll also give updates on the other young players from the previous week.
This is the 12th edition of the 2018-19 Young Wolves Tracker.
SPOTLIGHT ON …
Forward Josh Okogie
That the Wolves landed a rotation-level player with the 20th pick last summer is fairly remarkable given their recent history outside of the lottery.
However, Okogie has been more than that at times in the absence of starter Robert Covington, out since New Year’s Eve with an ankle injury.
The rookie has started the Wolves’ last 10 games, his most significant run as a starter since filling in for Andrew Wiggins back in October.
As he did early in the season with a handful of explosive plays, Okogie continues to flash proficiency across the board.
The two most notable performances of this latest stretch: A 15-point outing in the Wolves’ loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Jan. 11, and his career-high 21 points in a blowout win over the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday.
— NBA Draft (@NBADraft) January 23, 2019
He went 7-for-11 from the field against the Suns and 4-for-7 from deep, while making all three of his free-throw attempts and adding five rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Jerryd Bayless was the only Wolves player to attempt more 3s, going 4-for-11.
This isn’t a new development.
Okogie attempted five or more 3s in three of his first five appearances back in October, and has produced a few times, games of 21, 17, 17, 15 and 15 points.
Okogie has, however, rarely scored as efficiently as he did against Phoenix, when he shot 63.6 percent from the field and 57.1 percent from deep.
— Karl-Anthony Towns has been playing All-Star-level basketball, even if the voters aren’t acknowledging it. He poured in an efficient 25 points on 10-of-15 shooting, including two 3s, in that win over Phoenix, adding 18 rebounds. He was outside the top 10 for the Western Conference frontcourt in the NBA’s latest update to the fan vote on Thursday. No. 10 DeMarcus Cousins has more than 450,000 votes, despite making his season debut a day later.
— Dario Saric has had a tough go of it recently. He’s shooting just 31.6 percent over his last three games (6-for-19).
— For the first time since November, we have a Keita Bates-Diop sighting to report. The Wolves’ other 2018 draft pick played 5:36 against Phoenix, a week after playing 7:23 in that blowout loss to the Philadelphia 76ers last week.
— Also: A Jared Terrell sighting. Terrell, a 23-year-old rookie on a two-way deal, played 5:36 against Phoenix, his first action since Jan. 6.