After a 23-49 season for the Timberwolves, not much has changed. Patrick Beverley and Taurean Prince are the only rotational players added to the roster this offseason, and that clearly won’t be enough. In addition to the roster difficulties, the Timberwolves have also experienced turmoil in the front office, recently firing head executive Gersson Rosas. Throughout all the chaos, it’s tough to visualize where the Timberwolves will be in two months.
As of now, the Timberwolves don’t have a starting lineup set in stone. Will Patrick Beverley start? Where do Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley fall into the rotation? You see, the Timberwolves struggle to defend and shoot at the same time. There’s D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, and Karl Anthony-Towns who are incredibly talented offensively, but defense is not their strong suit. They also have Josh Okogie and Jarred Vanderbilt, two defensively centered athletes that are incapable of shooting threes. It’s unclear where Jake Layman and Taurean Prince will stand in the rotation, however, Prince will likely hold that position to himself. The best two-way player that is on the roster is Jaden McDaniels. He isn’t the best on-ball defender, as he specializes in help defense. Offensively, he shot 69% at the rim and 36.4%. At 6’9, he is a dual-threat and can score in the paint or from three. For a team that ranked 25th among the league in three-point shooting, they will need all the shooting they can get. With Patrick Beverley, the decision that benefits the team most is slotting him at shooting guard. Beverley is not a playmaker or creator, but his shot is accurate. Beverley can be their 3 and D guy to guard the opponent’s best guards and shoot threes at the other end of the court. Although removing Beasley from the starting lineup subtracts some offense, it increases the amount of defense on the floor when you replace him with Beverley. This gives Minnesota an additional boost of offense coming from the bench. However, that requires Jordan McLaughlin to step up into the backup PG role. Certainly not a household name, but I believe McLaughlin can perform in this situation. McLaughlin has shown in the time that I’ve watched him play that he’s ready to take on the backup PG position if that situation is proposed. If it’s not, he would be better off a third-string, but he’ll be ready if he gets the call.
The last thing I’ll touch on is Jaylen Nowell and Naz Reid. I was a major supporter of Nowell’s game last season and picked him up in my 18-person fantasy league right before he went on a tear. His end-of-season stats aren’t eye-opening whatsoever, but he will improve so he is ready to perform again this year. After a solid rookie year, Reid came back again last season to average 11.2 PPG on 52.3%/35.1% shooting splits. Reid unquestionably impacts the game in a positive way for the Wolves, and even though the influence isn’t spectacular, he will continue to improve and develop.
Let’s be honest, nobody can accurately predict the mess that is Minnesota’s front office. What will they do next? Where happens to KAT if the Wolves have another losing season? The front office has a lot of pressure built upon them, and whether positions will be retained or lost is up to how they act on the situation.