Certain, you might be what your report says you might be, however throughout a COVID-19 pandemic, may we do this in spurts? The Minnesota Timberwolves are 20-44, however they’re 9-8 since March 31 and using a four-game profitable streak into tonight’s house sport in opposition to the New Orleans Pelicans.
This was posted by StatMuse a couple of nights in the past, and the T-Wolves have since upended the Golden State Warriors 126-114, bettering to 10-6 when Karl-Anthony Cities and D’Angelo Russell play collectively, regardless that the latter has been coming off the bench since April 5. Russell has been thriving within the sixth man position, averaging 18.7 factors per sport and 5.6 assists on 46/41/83 capturing splits and doing so in solely 25.8 minutes per sport. April 5 wasn’t solely the start of him usually coming off the bench, however Russell had been out the prior two months following arthroscopic surgical procedure on his left knee.
Roster scratches, each COVID-related and in any other case, have tremendously affected the group. Wolves chief Karl-Anthony Cities missed 22 of a attainable 64 video games thus far this season, however the group has performed higher as of late, which clearly is principally attributed to his presence. The Wolves are 4-18 with out KAT this season and a significantly better 16-26 when he’s lively. In truth, on their 9-8 stretch, two of the losses had been video games Cities missed. Cities can also be once more placing up online game numbers, averaging 24.8 factors, 10.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 1.3 blocks whereas placing up capturing splits of 49/39/86.
However regardless that this season is ending, the again portion of the 2020-21 marketing campaign highlights that the Timberwolves may very well have one thing value constructing out. Cities and Russell are each signed by way of a minimum of 2023 and can financial institution round $30 million every till Cities will get an extra $36 million for the 2023-24 marketing campaign, the ultimate season of his present deal. Malik Beasley, who has develop into a 20-point per sport scorer in Minnesota and might actually return this season, will make round $15 million per 12 months the subsequent two seasons, with a group choice value over $16 million for 2023-24. Ricky Rubio ($17 million subsequent season) and Juan Hernangomez ($14.5 million over the subsequent two seasons) are additionally locked in for the short-term however are tradeable NBA contract items greater than the rest at this level.
However beginning with 2020 first general choose Anthony Edwards, Minnesota might finally be onto one thing.
Rookie of the Yr candidate Anthony Edwards is averaging 22.7 factors, 5.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.7 steals in his final 32 video games. Naz Reid, who’s beneath contract by way of 2023, together with a group choice, is averaging 11 factors and 4.5 rebounds whereas bettering his capturing splits to 52 /35/72 following his rookie season. 2018 first-round choose Josh Okogie is a gradual defensive backcourt presence locked in till 2022. And twenty eighth general choice on this previous 12 months’s draft, Jaden McDaniels, is an intriguing 20-year-old stretch 4 averaging 6.8 factors and three.7 rebounds whereas hitting 37 p.c of his threes.
If the Timberwolves truly keep largely wholesome, perhaps they could possibly be constructing a playoff contender (gotta begin someplace) within the not-so-distant future. They’ll in all probability should in an effort to keep away from sudden commerce requests, and on this league, the subsequent one is at all times across the nook. You simply don’t need it to come back out of your star, and one of the best ways to keep away from that’s easy: Win.