2019-20 NBA Team Preview Series: Minnesota Timberwolves
Credit:Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
The 2019-2020 NBA season starts October 22th and to get you ready for tip-off, Off the Glass is previewing all 30 teams. Today we look at the Minnesota Timberwolves.
2018-2019 Record: 36-46, 5th in the Northwest Division.
Season Recap: The beginning of the season for the Timberwolves was extremely awkward to say the least. Jimmy Butler took a wrecking ball to the franchise that involved practices where he called out management and his two young sidekicks in addition to conducting a franchise destroying sit-down interview in an effort to get out of Minnesota. The Timberwolves acquiesced to his demands and in return picked up Dario Saric and Robert Covington. That was not enough to save Tom Thibodeau, who found himself fired after 40 games and replaced by the son of longtime Timberwolves coach/front office employee Flip Saunders. Karl-Anthony Towns managed to be brilliant, but the Wolves were left with more questions than answers and many of those questions dealt with their two young “stars.”
Key Losses: Jerryd Bayless, G; Luol Deng, F; Taj Gibson, F; Tyus Jones, G; Cameron Reynolds, F; Derrick Rose, G; Anthony Tolliver, F; CJ Williams, G; Dario Saric, F/C;
Key Additions: Noah Vonleh, F; Jordan Bell, F; Jake Layman, F;
Preview: The Timberwolves have changed their direction with the hiring of new President of Basketball Operations, Gersson Rosas. Rosas comes to the Timberwolves from Houston and it is safe to say that he is going to build him team slightly different than Tom Thibodeau might. His vision will take time to come together and in the meantime, the Timberwolves are blessed with one of the most offensively talented big men to come along in quite some time, but it is starting to mirror the situation of his old college teammate Devin Booker in Phoenix. Is Karl-Anthony Towns a winning player or is he destined to put up amazing numbers on a bad team? Andrew Wiggins has a lot riding on this season as well and it is safe to say that everyone has given up on the former number one pick. Robert Covington was great for the Timberwolves last season and the team went 12-10 in games that he was involved in. Covington provides the Timberwolves with badly needed perimeter defense, an area that rookie Jarrett Culver will also help to address. This team has been horrible defensively the past few seasons and any improvements they hope to make as a team have to start on that end of the court. With a new team president, the roster will certainly see changes and I would assume that it is going to be an explosive season for the Timberwolves as Rosas seeks to make the Timberwolves into the kind of team that he believes can win, it will be interesting to see which players he believes are a part of that vision.
Player to Watch: Andrew Wiggins, F
Team X-Factor: Defense
Worst Case Scenario: The Timberwolves are once again awful defensively and are unable to make any meaningful changes to their roster thanks to the moves made by Tom Thibodeau.
Best Case Scenario: The team either gets Andrew Wiggins to maximize his talent or are able to find a team willing to take him. Karl-Anthony Towns pairs with Robert Covington and Jarrett Culver to reinvigorate the franchise and make a run at a playoff spot.
Actual 2019-2020 Prediction: 40-42, 4th Northwest Division