It’s not very often that a team has an exciting 29-win season. Still, that is what the Timberwolves achieved this past season. With great young talent and a Rookie of the Year, fans across the NBA are now starting to look at Minnesota as the team “on the rise.” However, a 29-win season is still just a 29-win season. There are still plenty of changes that need to be made in order for the T’Wolves to take that next step.
Here are the per game stats for the 2015-2016 Minnesota Timberwolves:
W-L FG% 3P% FT FTA ORB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS 29-53 .464 .338 21.4 27.0 10.0 23.4 8.0 4.6 15.0 20.7 102.4
And these are the per game stats for their opponents:
W-L FG% 3P% FT FTA ORB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS 53-29 .471 .355 17.0 22.5 10.7 22.6 7.8 5.2 14.9 21.6 106.0
Right now, the biggest issue with the Timberwolves is their shooting. Their 33.8% 3-point percentage ranked 26th in the NBA this year. In a league that is continuously progressing to shooting more 3’s, shooting is at a premium. With Towns on the inside, it is important to be able to spread the floor around him. With teams collapsing on him in the post, wing shooters should be able to get some great looks in the coming years.
With the #5 pick in the draft, the Timberwolves will likely look to add more shooting. If they look for shooting in the back court, the most likely candidates would be Buddy Hield or Jamal Murray. These two are proven shooters who can light it up from behind the arc. Shooting is a talent that transfers easily to the NBA game, especially if they are given time to get their shot off. If, however, the Wolves look big in the draft, Henry Ellenson from Marquette would be another solid option. At 6-10, Ellenson has a smooth shooting touch that would compliment KAT very well.
Their current team dynamic is very young, but there is promise all over the place. With back-to-back Rookie of the Years in Andrew Wiggins and Karl Anthony-Towns, along with a young back court of LaVine and Rubio, there is plenty to be excited about. If this team can make a splash in free agency and hit on a draft pick, their win totals will steadily increase over the next few years.
In terms of free agency, the theme of shooting will still be a focal point. In regards to this, there are two situations that I could see playing out. If the Wolves draft Hield/Murray, they will likely target a stretch-4 at some point. With players like Ryan Anderson and Mirza Teletovic on the market, it would be reasonable for the Timberwolves to get on the phone and try to lure one of them to join a front court with Karl Anthony-Towns. On the other hand, if the Wolves go with Ellenson, they will look for a wing player who can shoot. The players that jump out to me as solid options here are Allen Crabbe and Evan Fournier. Both are restricted free agents, but are excellent shooters on the wing. Crabbe solidified himself as a solid player who could either start or come off the bench in this last season with the Blazers while Fournier proved his worth as a true starter at small forward. I have previously mentioned that I believe Fournier will stay in Orlando, but it would be interesting to see him move to Minnesota to join their young core.
With Towns, LaVine, and Wiggins, the future is certainly bright in Minnesota.
Previous Offseason Forecast: Phoenix Suns (23-59)
Next Offseason Forecast: New Orleans Pelicans (30-52)
And that’s all I have for now, so this is me…signing off. -Lukas.