All Things Minnesota Timberwolves 2022-2023 In-Season Thread

JimmyJamesMD

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It's been covered earlier in this thread that they can't just let him go and use the money on other players. They almost have to sign him if they can't find a trade partner.

This is from a Canishoopus article:
The Wolves own D’Angelo Russell’s bird rights, with allows the team to re-sign him and go over the salary cap while doing so. They do not have the ability to sign other players and go over the cap unless they are using the Mid-Level Exception or the Bi-Annual Exception, which project to be around $11 million and $4.3 million respectively for the 2023-24 NBA season. With Russell’s bird rights, the Wolves can sign him to any amount and go over the salary cap.

One argument for doing this is to ensure that you have some talent at the point guard spot. We already went over the alternatives that could be signed this summer, which were underwhelming, to say the least.

Another argument can be made for extending Russell as well. This argument centers around a trade. If the Wolves re-sign Russell, they keep the possibility open of trading for another high paid player down the line. You can’t trade a player that you signed for $10 million on the Mid-Level Exception for a player making $30 million, but you could trade D’Angelo Russell on a $25 million contract for that theoretical player.

I don’t know who that player could be, or when that move would potentially come, but I do know that a move like that would be impossible to make if Russell isn’t re-signed, unless you’re wanting to trade away one of Gobert or Towns.

The last argument for extending DLo is that he might just be a really good player for this team. Like I brought up earlier, Russell is a very good pick and roll playmaker. He also had one of the best seasons of his career last year despite some poor shooting numbers. We can expect that those numbers should go up this year. He might also have the best playmaking season of his career. Not to mention, his defensive woes might matter less than they ever have. Early returns thus far this season also show Russell’s ability to get to the rim seems to be elevated, which is something that wasn’t a huge part of his game. Everything is shaping up for him to have the most impactful and successful year of his career thus far.
Russell sucks. If you sign him to a meaningful contract, its a huge risk. Are you sure you can trade him after extending him? I'm not. I dont care what ownership group it is, they dont want to pay Towns/Gobert/DLO/Ant $140 million per season, and luxury tax when they have no chance of winning a championship.

DLO gets traded or is bought out.
 

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Russell sucks. If you sign him to a meaningful contract, its a huge risk. Are you sure you can trade him after extending him? I'm not. I dont care what ownership group it is, they dont want to pay Towns/Gobert/DLO/Ant $140 million per season, and luxury tax when they have no chance of winning a championship.

DLO gets traded or is bought out.
I hope so. I vote for the trade if I have a choice.
 

From the Parkinglot

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I hope so. I vote for the trade if I have a choice.
The trouble with a trade is you usually have to take back another terrible player and you might be required to include a draft pick. The only value I see DLo having is as an expiring contract. So the wolves have to ask themselves do they simply want the money off the books in 2024 or are they going to trade for a player with 2-3 years left at $30million a year and pay luxury tax.
 


jamiche

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they may be happy with the salary coming off of the books since they have to pay Ant.
As I understand it, they won't get any salary relief when DLo's contract ends. I read somewhere a couple of months ago that his salary slot is already "spoken for." I'm not sure what that means but my interpretation was that getting rid of his salary wouldn't provide the usual kind of salary cap value. I could be mistaken. Hope so.
 


kg21

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As I understand it, they won't get any salary relief when DLo's contract ends. I read somewhere a couple of months ago that his salary slot is already "spoken for." I'm not sure what that means but my interpretation was that getting rid of his salary wouldn't provide the usual kind of salary cap value. I could be mistaken. Hope so.
You are correct.

The only way they gain is to trade him.
 

BleedGopher

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Souhan: Here's what we think we know about the ever-changing Timberwolves

Not that the Timberwolves are agents of chaos, but in the past two years they've gone through three primary basketball bosses, two head coaches, an ownership transition, the NBA's most shocking trade and a 2022-2023 season that has called into question their ability at every level of the organization.

After a pitiful loss at home to the woeful Pistons, a dramatic victory over the excellent Nuggets and a grind-it-out win against the grinders from Portland, the Wolves continue to befuddle.

Here's what we think we know about a team that seems to change personalities and personnel every few weeks:

Utah was right about Rudy

Rudy Gobert excelled with the Utah Jazz as a rim protector and rebounder who was asked to do little else. The Wolves traded everybody but Herschel Walker for him, so they wanted to explore his offensive capabilities to make him feel welcome and to maximize his value.

Utah had it right. Finch tried to turn Gobert into a wide-ranging defender and reliable offensive contributor. He is neither. He needs to go back to what made him worth trading for: blocking shots, grabbing rebounds, intimidating opponents from the paint, and collecting offensive scraps.

Russell isn't a lead point guard

Finch benched D'Angelo Russell in an elimination playoff game and on Wednesday night down the stretch in a close game with Portland. Russell has played well statistically for most of the past month, but his usage tells you all you need to know about his real-world value.

Finch seemingly would rather have Anthony Edwards, Jordan McLaughlin and even Kyle Anderson run his offense instead of Russell.

Anderson was a steal

Anderson figured to be a savvy contributor. He has turned into one of the Wolves' best players. He's skilled and intelligent, plays excellent defense and can lead through both words and actions.

Prince is vital

What have the Wolves lacked in their worst games? Defense, intensity, cohesiveness, communication, three-point shooting, floor spacing and leadership. Taurean Prince provides all of the above.

KAT is missed

When the Wolves won three of their first four games after Karl-Anthony Towns injured his calf, too many people made the incorrect assumption that the Wolves are better without him.

What happened was that Towns' absence initially simplified a complex problem: how to get a lot of talented offensive players to work well together. Over time, the Wolves have desperately missed Towns' three-point shooting, floor spacing, passing, rebounding and ability to draw fouls.

He was also the Wolf who most overtly tried to make Gobert feel comfortable in the locker room and offense. Yes, the Wolves miss him.

Garza is for real

Luka Garza possesses shooting range and post moves. He shoots with touch, he can finish with either hand, and plays defense, plays hard and rebounds. The Wolves deserve credit for seeing that he was more than a back-to-the-basket college player, and he deserves credit for transforming his body and shooting skills.

Frontcourt is packed

With Garza shining, the Wolves have a remarkable array of talent in the frontcourt.

However poorly he's performed thus far with the Wolves, Gobert is an all-world defender. Towns is one of the best offensive big men in NBA history. Naz Reid is an excellent all-around offensive player. Anderson is a walking basketball lesson.

Garza is an ideal bench player, and so is Nathan Knight, who, like Garza, makes the game look simple because he keeps it simple, by playing hard, chasing rebounds and attacking the rim. Matt Ryan can contribute as a three-point shooter.

It's up to Finch to use these players wisely. He has options.

This is Edwards' team

Towns and Gobert are the Wolves' most accomplished players. Anderson, Austin Rivers and Prince might turn out to be their best leaders.

It's Edwards, though, who is now the team's best ballhandler, creator, scorer, athlete, penetrator and clutch shooter. He also ranks among their best defenders, shot-blockers and passers.

As awkward as the assimilation of Gobert has been, the trade can still be a success if Edwards continues to develop and Towns can get healthy and fit into an evolving offense.

This is Edwards' team, and he's going to need a lot of help from Towns and Gobert to eventually make the big trade look good.


Howl Wolves!!
 

jamiche

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Souhan: Here's what we think we know about the ever-changing Timberwolves

Not that the Timberwolves are agents of chaos, but in the past two years they've gone through three primary basketball bosses, two head coaches, an ownership transition, the NBA's most shocking trade and a 2022-2023 season that has called into question their ability at every level of the organization.

After a pitiful loss at home to the woeful Pistons, a dramatic victory over the excellent Nuggets and a grind-it-out win against the grinders from Portland, the Wolves continue to befuddle.

Here's what we think we know about a team that seems to change personalities and personnel every few weeks:

Utah was right about Rudy

Rudy Gobert excelled with the Utah Jazz as a rim protector and rebounder who was asked to do little else. The Wolves traded everybody but Herschel Walker for him, so they wanted to explore his offensive capabilities to make him feel welcome and to maximize his value.

Utah had it right. Finch tried to turn Gobert into a wide-ranging defender and reliable offensive contributor. He is neither. He needs to go back to what made him worth trading for: blocking shots, grabbing rebounds, intimidating opponents from the paint, and collecting offensive scraps.

Russell isn't a lead point guard

Finch benched D'Angelo Russell in an elimination playoff game and on Wednesday night down the stretch in a close game with Portland. Russell has played well statistically for most of the past month, but his usage tells you all you need to know about his real-world value.

Finch seemingly would rather have Anthony Edwards, Jordan McLaughlin and even Kyle Anderson run his offense instead of Russell.

Anderson was a steal

Anderson figured to be a savvy contributor. He has turned into one of the Wolves' best players. He's skilled and intelligent, plays excellent defense and can lead through both words and actions.

Prince is vital

What have the Wolves lacked in their worst games? Defense, intensity, cohesiveness, communication, three-point shooting, floor spacing and leadership. Taurean Prince provides all of the above.

KAT is missed

When the Wolves won three of their first four games after Karl-Anthony Towns injured his calf, too many people made the incorrect assumption that the Wolves are better without him.

What happened was that Towns' absence initially simplified a complex problem: how to get a lot of talented offensive players to work well together. Over time, the Wolves have desperately missed Towns' three-point shooting, floor spacing, passing, rebounding and ability to draw fouls.

He was also the Wolf who most overtly tried to make Gobert feel comfortable in the locker room and offense. Yes, the Wolves miss him.

Garza is for real

Luka Garza possesses shooting range and post moves. He shoots with touch, he can finish with either hand, and plays defense, plays hard and rebounds. The Wolves deserve credit for seeing that he was more than a back-to-the-basket college player, and he deserves credit for transforming his body and shooting skills.

Frontcourt is packed

With Garza shining, the Wolves have a remarkable array of talent in the frontcourt.

However poorly he's performed thus far with the Wolves, Gobert is an all-world defender. Towns is one of the best offensive big men in NBA history. Naz Reid is an excellent all-around offensive player. Anderson is a walking basketball lesson.

Garza is an ideal bench player, and so is Nathan Knight, who, like Garza, makes the game look simple because he keeps it simple, by playing hard, chasing rebounds and attacking the rim. Matt Ryan can contribute as a three-point shooter.

It's up to Finch to use these players wisely. He has options.

This is Edwards' team

Towns and Gobert are the Wolves' most accomplished players. Anderson, Austin Rivers and Prince might turn out to be their best leaders.

It's Edwards, though, who is now the team's best ballhandler, creator, scorer, athlete, penetrator and clutch shooter. He also ranks among their best defenders, shot-blockers and passers.

As awkward as the assimilation of Gobert has been, the trade can still be a success if Edwards continues to develop and Towns can get healthy and fit into an evolving offense.

This is Edwards' team, and he's going to need a lot of help from Towns and Gobert to eventually make the big trade look good.


Howl Wolves!!
Other than overstating Garza's value, Souhan has it just about right.
 

kg21

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So we trade DLO for someone.

We still can't rebound for crap. That is with KAT or without him.

So now what?
 



From the Parkinglot

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So we trade DLO for someone.

We still can't rebound for crap. That is with KAT or without him.

So now what?
You sit in purgatory. Not good enough to win it all. Not bad enough to get a really high pick. You lose draft picks every other year for the next like 8 years. You have no cap space to go get any new pieces to improve the team. It is literally the worst spot you could be in for a sport franchise.

Oh and you have a new ownership group that may or may not have the money they owe Glenn Taylor as they have already had to delay a payment this year. Other than that it’s going great.
 


kg21

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You sit in purgatory. Not good enough to win it all. Not bad enough to get a really high pick. You lose draft picks every other year for the next like 8 years. You have no cap space to go get any new pieces to improve the team. It is literally the worst spot you could be in for a sport franchise.

Oh and you have a new ownership group that may or may not have the money they owe Glenn Taylor as they have already had to delay a payment this year. Other than that it’s going great.
This is my problem with McDaniels. He literally doesn't rebound and is a stick. He gets shoved around and moved out like he isn't even there.

Yet, he has good talent.

I'd explore what you can get for him.
 

From the Parkinglot

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This is my problem with McDaniels. He literally doesn't rebound and is a stick. He gets shoved around and moved out like he isn't even there.

Yet, he has good talent.

I'd explore what you can get for him.
It appears they could have simply traded him to Utah for Gobbert and saved at least 2 years worth of draft picks. That time has passed and his value has gone down this year vs. his value after last season.
 




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It appears they could have simply traded him to Utah for Gobbert and saved at least 2 years worth of draft picks. That time has passed and his value has gone down this year vs. his value after last season.
We kept McDaniels for one pick given up. It would have been McDaniels (and the rest) and three #1's.
 

Iceland12

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Last night a Wolves team without Towns and McLaughlin finally got to play a team missing more big guns than they were. It went well.

Rarely, if ever this season has Minnesota simply outplayed its opponent for a game’s duration.
But that’s what happened Friday at Target Center in the Timberwolves’ 128-115 win over the Los Angeles Clippers — the exclamation point on a three-game homestand that seems to have re-directed the season.

Minnesota led wire to wire, capping a week in which it downed Denver, Portland and Los Angeles at Target Center..

Anthony Edwards has been leading the way in Minnesota’s resurgence, but that wasn’t the case Friday. The third-year guard finished with just five points in 22 minutes before leaving the game with hip soreness. His production wasn’t required.

Minnesota had seven players score in double figures, led by a 25-point, 21-rebound showing from Rudy Gobert — likely his most dominant performance in a Timberwolves jersey. A team that had previously struggled to find the big man around the rim, Minnesota hit Gobert for five lob dunks Friday — the last of which came from D’Angelo Russell. After the completion, Russell ran down the floor with his arms extended to the sky as if to say “finally.”

“He controlled the paint, we found him a ton. Great game, great game by him, obviously,” Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said. “All credit to his teammates, they really did a great job of finding him tonight, and he did a really good job of swarming the paint.”..

That’s also evident on the defensive end, where the Wolves seem to have found a connectivity. It starts with Gobert patrolling the paint, but the other four on the floor have improved their on-ball defense. Minnesota is also moving the ball better, which doesn’t allow for defenders to hang on Gobert down low.

The Clippers (21-20) were sans Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on the second half of a back to back after playing in Denver on Thursday. But Minnesota is playing well regardless of opponent at the moment, not a sentence that could’ve been uttered about the Wolves this season prior to this stretch.

Russell finished with 25 points, five assists and four rebounds..

 
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Iceland12

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Timberwolves beat Houston in Houston, 104-96.

Wolves (20-21) were just godawful in the 1st Quarter and well into the 2nd against the Houston Rockets (10-30) the worst team in the NBA. Too many turnovers were the main problem but they were just playing badly overall.They were trailing the Rockets by 20 at the 5:40 mark. Then the Wolves outscored them 20-4 to end the Half.

They played them even in the 3rd and ended-up winning by 8.

It was the Wolves 4th win in a row. They play the Pistons in Detroit Wednesday night.
 

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Couldn’t figure out who wanted to lose the game more. Twolves because they are incompetent or Houston cause they want the #1 pick. This should be a hell of a year for end of season tanking.
 

Iceland12

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or Houston cause they want the #1 pick. This should be a hell of a year for end of season tanking.

Agree that management can and does manipulate the results by benching or trading players. Do remember when those "bleeps" at Philly benched and traded guys who were too interested in playing hard.

NFL games today showed the players had little interest in getting hurt in meaningless games. But players in the NBA or MLB? They're playing for jobs and personal records. Besides that why help get players that will try and take your job anyway?

Houston tonight? Their young players were trying hard and looked pretty good. They just don't have enough talent to get it done.

As for the Wolves, looked like they thought they'd just have to show-up to beat that Rockets team.

They never can do that. Took them too long to figure that out but they did.

Thought you were watching the hockey game anyway?;)
 

GopherWeatherGuy

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DLO 'sucks' and should be bought out, yet he's our 2nd best player right now. Man there's been some hard hitting 'analysis' on this thread lately...
 

kg21

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DLO 'sucks' and should be bought out, yet he's our 2nd best player right now. Man there's been some hard hitting 'analysis' on this thread lately...
That turd is our second best player?

WTF

I think he watched his man go by him 40 times last night. He doesn't move the ball. He has zero interest in rebounding. 4 turnovers that were just shit.

Do yourself a favor and watch this guy defensively. He is friggin hideous.

I despise that nerd.

He did make a few shots, though.

Oh, and if he's our second best player right now, we should be able to get a lot for him.
 
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Iceland12

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When it comes to Russell, last night's game showed both the bad and good Russell.

In the 1st Quarter, he hit two 3's early but had 3 of his 4 turnovers. Got his 4th and last, less than 3 minutes into the 2nd Quarter. Didn't look like he played with much energy either.

2nd half? He got most of his team leading 22pts., all 3 of his rebounds, most of his 6 assists and again, no turnovers. Wolves hit 10 of their 28 3s. Russell went 4 of 7.

Could say that Russell was instrumental in Houston getting their big lead but was instrumental in the Wolves coming back and winning too. So were Gobert, Prince and Anderson.

"The Wolves pulled it off thanks to defense. They held Houston to 33% shooting and 34 points in the second half. They also pulled it off because Houston is full of young, inexperienced players who couldn't hold a lead once the Wolves decided to show up.

"It was literally a matter of whenever we were going to sit down and start guarding people, we'd get back in the game, no matter what the deficit was," coach Chris Finch said."

The Wolves were down 58-38 with 5 minutes, 40 seconds remaining in the second quarter when Finch turned to a lineup of Rudy Gobert, Anderson, Anthony Edwards, Taurean Prince and Jaden McDaniels. Edwards said that lineup allows the Wolves to switch more because there are such solid on-ball defenders in that group. The Wolves finished the second quarter on a 20-4 run.

"Get low and guard," Gobert said of the difference. "Whether you're tired. Whatever is going on, whether it's raining, shining. Whatever. Just leave it all out there and when we all do it, it's contagious. It's contagious and then whoever comes back on the court better do it too."

Gobert said Friday he wanted to take it upon himself to be a tone-setter for the group. After Gobert and the Wolves allowed Alperen Sengun to score 18 first-half points, they didn't let Sengun score again. That mirrored the defensive intensity they had the rest of the game.

Gobert finished with 18 points and 11 11 rebounds. He commanded the paint in the second half and had a number of authoritative dunks.

"I would love it personally [if Gobert set the tone]," Prince said. "I know the guys would appreciate it as well. Another guy to bring the tone, whether it's hard fouls, protecting the rim and doing what he does best. It only benefits us."

 

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I told a friend of mine while we were watching the Vikings game yesterday that the wolves game last night was the most important game of the season to date. The team was on a little bit of a roll and this was exactly the kind of a game that we've seen the wolves "explicably" inexplicably blow countless times through the years. They would let an obviously inferior team run all over them and walk out of the building losers. It would be the kind of draining loss that would lead to another downturn. For the first 40% of the game that's exactly how it was playing out. Houston's center looked like Hakeem the Dream and the rest of the Rockets were nearly as unstoppable.
Fortunately, they got their shit together, at least well enough to walk out of there with a single digit victory.
This team has talent. Maybe not elite talent but very good talent. It looks like it has a pecking order with Ant leading the starters and TP and Rivers leading the reserves.
Do they have the mental focus and emotional maturity to turn this into a season that comes close to preseason expectations? Finch is critical to finding the answer to that question.
 

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I told a friend of mine while we were watching the Vikings game yesterday that the wolves game last night was the most important game of the season to date. The team was on a little bit of a roll and this was exactly the kind of a game that we've seen the wolves "explicably" inexplicably blow countless times through the years. They would let an obviously inferior team run all over them and walk out of the building losers. It would be the kind of draining loss that would lead to another downturn. For the first 40% of the game that's exactly how it was playing out. Houston's center looked like Hakeem the Dream and the rest of the Rockets were nearly as unstoppable.
Fortunately, they got their shit together, at least well enough to walk out of there with a single digit victory.
This team has talent. Maybe not elite talent but very good talent. It looks like it has a pecking order with Ant leading the starters and TP and Rivers leading the reserves.
Do they have the mental focus and emotional maturity to turn this into a season that comes close to preseason expectations? Finch is critical to finding the answer to that question.
Getting Prince back (along with a healthy Anderson) has helped immensely. Plus, getting "good" D-Lo is always a good thing. Hopefully, "bad" D-Lo doesn't appear again in Detroit.

This upcoming Detroit game is HUGE!
 

kg21

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I told a friend of mine while we were watching the Vikings game yesterday that the wolves game last night was the most important game of the season to date. The team was on a little bit of a roll and this was exactly the kind of a game that we've seen the wolves "explicably" inexplicably blow countless times through the years. They would let an obviously inferior team run all over them and walk out of the building losers. It would be the kind of draining loss that would lead to another downturn. For the first 40% of the game that's exactly how it was playing out. Houston's center looked like Hakeem the Dream and the rest of the Rockets were nearly as unstoppable.
Fortunately, they got their shit together, at least well enough to walk out of there with a single digit victory.
This team has talent. Maybe not elite talent but very good talent. It looks like it has a pecking order with Ant leading the starters and TP and Rivers leading the reserves.
Do they have the mental focus and emotional maturity to turn this into a season that comes close to preseason expectations? Finch is critical to finding the answer to that question.
they are in the same boat on Wednesday night when they play the dreaded Detroit Pistons......whom beat them a few days back
 

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Getting Prince back (along with a healthy Anderson) has helped immensely. Plus, getting "good" D-Lo is always a good thing. Hopefully, "bad" D-Lo doesn't appear again in Detroit.

This upcoming Detroit game is HUGE!
I have no expectations of DLo anymore. Good DLo is always a bonus. An encouraging development is that Finch seems less willing to ride with "bad" or "I don't give a shit" DLo.
 

GopherWeatherGuy

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That turd is our second best player?

WTF

I think he watched his man go by him 40 times last night. He doesn't move the ball. He has zero interest in rebounding. 4 turnovers that were just shit.

Do yourself a favor and watch this guy defensively. He is friggin hideous.

I despise that nerd.

He did make a few shots, though.

Oh, and if he's our second best player right now, we should be able to get a lot for him.

I said it last year, when DLo is good, this team is good. When he struggles, this team struggles. He's not a good defender, but his defensive metrics aren't as bad as you're making it sound.

The argument around DLo reminds me a lot of Cousins on the Vikings, and even Garcia on the Gophers. Are they great players? No. Do they help the team more than they hurt them? Yes.

DLo got off to a horrible start this season, but he's been much better since December. He averaged 21 PPG and 6 ASTs in Dec, and 19 PPG and 6 ASTs so far in Jan. Thinking we can just cut a guy with those numbers and be a better team is absurdly stupid.
 

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Timberwolves at the midpoint: Early frustration, recent hope and future outlook​


Wide open West

For all of the understandable teeth-gnashing over the Timberwolves’ slow start, they are right in the thick of the Western Conference playoff picture at the season’s halfway point.

The winning streak has coincided with some free-falls from teams around them to push them up to ninth in the standings, but the Wolves are just 1 1/2 games behind fifth-seeded Sacramento (20-18) and a half-game behind sixth-seeded Golden State (20-20). The other two teams above them in the Play-In field, Phoenix and the Clippers, are on six-game losing streaks. The Suns come to Target Center on Friday and are without star Devin Booker for an extended period.

The Wolves have done a good job of weathering the early struggles and not getting buried. They are fortunate the West is not stronger this season, but as they find a rhythm, others are falling by the wayside. Portland (19-20) and Utah (20-23) were ahead of the Wolves for most of the season but now are fading.

Minnesota has a home-heavy schedule in January, so the opportunity is there to keep climbing. Towns and Jordan McLaughlin, two key members who have been out for weeks with calf injuries, are not expected back anytime soon. But if the Wolves can continue to make up ground in their absence, they should be well-positioned for a run when they do return.

The first half of the season was often hard to watch, with real concern about the Gobert trade and what it meant for the team’s immediate future. The Wolves have by no means allayed all of those fears. But the progress that has been made over the last few weeks, and the inability of anyone in the West to run away from them, has given them a legitimate reason for hope as the second half of the season begins.


Howl Wolves!!
 

Iceland12

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Timberwolves at the midpoint: Early frustration, recent hope and future outlook​


Wide open West



Howl Wolves!!

D-Lo is on a roll

Russell led the Wolves offense with 22 points and six assists against the Rockets. He was not on the floor in the second quarter when the Wolves stormed back into the game on the strength of their defense and transition game, but he did play a role in the tough defense that was played in the second half.

Russell was 6-for-13 from the field and 4-for-7 from 3. Since the start of December, he is averaging 20.9 points, 5.9 assists and shooting almost 40 percent from 3-point range. The increased shooting has coincided with a move away from the role as the primary playmaker for the Wolves’ offense. Edwards and Anderson have handled a lot of the facilitating, allowing Russell to simplify his approach, knock down shots and find teammates when they are open.

“You try to come into a situation, new group, new team, new everything, everybody’s trying to figure out their own,” Russell said. “Then eventually it starts becoming a collective thing and you start figuring out how to help the team and not yourself. It’s just simplifying the game for me, allowing me to fall into that rhythm.”

Russell has historically been a bit of a streaky player, especially when it comes to his shooting. When he is hot, look out, he can drop 30 on you in the blink of an eye. When he is in a funk, it can trickle down to the rest of the team. He can be a bit of an enigma, prone to big swings on the offensive and defensive end.

Russell is a career 35.6 percent shooter from 3. If Russell can sustain his 3-point shooting in the high 30s over the second half of the season, that would go a long way toward helping what has been a poor shooting team breathe some space into the offense.

Finch has been complimentary of his defense in wins over Portland, even though he finished that game on the bench, and Houston. With Towns out right now, they need a locked-in Russell to help them climb out of the hole they dug for themselves.
 




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