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1 pleasant surprise who stood out for Timberwolves during 2021 NBA training camp

Timberwolves

The 2021-22 NBA season has yet to start but the Minnesota Timberwolves’ 2021-22 are already dealing with controversy after ex-general manager Gersson Rosas was fired from his post just days before the start of training camp. It definitely wasn’t an ideal way to kick off a campaign where they look to make significant progress. All the Timberwolves can do is move on and place their focus on the upcoming season with the goal of making the postseason.

It definitely will be an uphill climb for the Timberwolves, especially since they are in the loaded Western Conference. But it seems like Minnesota is up for the challenge, based on how it approached the summer. According to  Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, the Timberwolves are looking to put a major focus on their defense this year. The man who has reportedly played a key role in instilling the dog mentality Minnesota needs on that end of the floor is none other than Patrick Beverley.

The Timberwolves acquired Beverley, who was just traded to the Memphis Grizzlies nine days prior, in exchange for Jarrett Culver and Juancho Hernangomez. The 33-year old has come in with a positive mindset and has been a major influence for the Timberwolves in training camp. His imprint, especially, on Minnesota’s newfound emphasis on defense has been very evident. Timberwolves forward Jake Layman spoke highly about how the defensive-minded guard’s leadership and guidance has really set the tone the team.

“I think Pat Bev’s brought a good new energy for us on defense,” Jake Layman said. “Not even just when he’s out here on the court. Even when he’s off the court, just talking to us, telling us where to be, helping young guys out, even helping us out. It’s been great.”

Pat Bev may just be the kind of player that Minnesota needs. He isn’t the most talented guy on the team, but his hustle and passion is definitely something that can rub off to a team that needs to establish an edge, especially on the defensive end.

The Timberwolves were one of the worst defensive teams in the league last season. Per NBA.com, they finished with the third worst defensive rating at 114.5 and allowed 117.7 points per contest, which is the second worst across the league. Minnesota was also the worst in defending the three, finishing dead last in opposing 3-point percentage (39.2 percent). They also finished third to the last in opposing field goal percentage at 48.8 percent.

Defense entails a lot of effort and it seems like the energy that Beverley has injected in training camp is becoming very contagious for the rest of the squad. In two preseason games, have shown that newfound tenacity on that end of the floor, exerting much better effort and activity to force turnovers. Their defense has, in turn, translated to a more high-octane offense that should be fun to watch this upcoming season.

D’Angelo Russell’s name may have been the loudest buzz in training camp for the Timberwolves. But there’s no questioning Patrick Beverley has already made his presence felt on this young, up-and-coming squad in short notice.