Well it’s about time for some extreme preseason overreactions (for those of us who can actually watch). The Minnesota Timberwolves have played two preseason games (both vs the Memphis Grizzlies). So far, they look like an extremely young team, with a recently overhauled roster that’s being forced to play together, after just three practices and a half-year off.
Oh wait… that’s exactly what’s happening.
It’s important to keep these, and other details, in mind. Karl-Anthony Towns, has played just one regular season game with D’Angelo Russell. The rest of this roster hasn’t really played together at all either.
KAT had an extremely difficult summer, too. While we aren’t known for our empathy at Minnesota Sports Fan, losing your mom and multiple other family members in a matter of months calls for some humanity.
But games will matter next week…
But the world moves on with or without you and, starting next week, these games will matter. That’s not something Wolves are currently ready for. Through two preseason games, they have more turnovers (48) than assists (37), the rebounding has been atrocious and the defense has been even worse.
The offense is good though, right? Wrong. The Timberwolves are shooting below 40% from the field, KAT can’t hit from deep (16.7%), there’s ZERO chemistry and even less energy. I could keep going but I think you get the point.
Let’s start with the chemistry. There is none. There’s little to no ball movement and when passes do occur, they’re off target (hence the turnovers).
Small examples of the Wolves getting to know each other. Twice in this quarter Towns has tried to hit a cutting Rubio, each time Towns’ passes have been slightly off the mark, one time because Rubio stopped unexpectedly.— Chris Hine (@ChristopherHine) December 15, 2020
After a fun and exciting offseason, we’re back to living in reality. The Timberwolves are going to have to go through some major growing pains before they’re (hopefully) good. How much better can they get before they play their first game on December 23?
Again, most of these Wolves haven’t played together… ever… and they don’t get the advantage 22 other bubble teams got just a couple of months ago. But opponents aren’t going to care about their circumstances.
Alright, enough of this negativity. Let’s look at some positives.
Jarrett Culver, comeback player of the year?
Talk about preseason overreactions! In these two games, no one has looked more improved than Jarrett Culver. He has looked more confident than ever and his jump shot is showing clear improvement. On the defensive side, Culver looks like a legit on-ball defender, which the Wolves desperately need.
D’Angelo Russell is still super good (at offense) and a ton of fun.
Sure, Russell struggles mightily on defense, but you can’t deny it’s fun to have someone with his offensive talent. When is the last time we had a guard who could chuck up outside shots (good or bad) from anywhere, anytime and have them consistently drop through the nylon? Marbury? Cassell?
It feels rewarding after watching a washed up Jeff Teague and Treveon Graham start games. Russell’s offensive talent is as good as advertised.
Will Karl Anthony-Towns look better when games matter and can the Minnesota Timberwolves come together before the playoffs are out of reach? With the expanded format this season, a .500 record will be good enough to play extra games.
Cooper Carlson | Minnesota Sports Fan