The Minnesota Timberwolves will enter their 2019-20 NBA Training Camp with questions galore. The first of many is– who stays and who goes? If the Wolves decided to go all-in with their current roster and fail, then changes will be made during the 2020 offseason. If the team happens to make a strong playoff run, the Wolves’ front office will look for ways to improve their current core.
The Wolves will look to the same core of players who have struggled since coming together. Karl-Anthony Towns is a force in the paint as he averaged 24 points and 12 rebounds in 2018. On the perimeter, Andrew Wiggins will look to improve on his inconsistency in 2019 amidst constant trade rumors. The Wolves will depend on a few young players to step up and must focus on the defensive end. If all falls in place, the playoffs are a lock.
Here are 4 Burning Questions as the Minnesota Timberwolves head Into Training Camp
What are the expectations
The Wolves have tight-roped long enough. The time has come for them to make a decision as to where they stand in the NBA. Will they continue to stay on the fence or let teams know, winning is their choice. Despite losing Jimmy Butler, the Wolves still have three capable scorers who can lead this team. Karl-Anthony Towns is a walking double-double as he averaged 24.4 points and 12.4 rebounds in 2018. Andrew Wiggins put up 18.1 points and Jeff Teague led the way with 8.2 assists.
The Wolves must enter the season with their own expectations, not those of analyst or fans. The talent is there to avoid the Lottery and offseason hardships but it’s up to them to want it. The excuse of being a young team is over. Each of the main players are now considered veterans and must play that role.
Are The Wolves going to make a trade
At some point, a hard decision has to be made regarding these trade rumors. Will the Wolves made a deal this season for outside help or will a move be made to blow this team up? The Wolves will enter the NBA trade deadline with three players who could bring in a haul or valuable draft picks.
For starters, if Jeff Teague struggles, then they could look to move the PG. Teague is set to become a free agent at the end of this season and his contract may be reasonable for a few teams. If a contender is in need of a quality starter, Teague’s contract and play could be a missing link for some draft picks. The other option would be to move Wiggins. He’s still young (24 years old), and his contract runs through 2023 at $29M. He’s a scorer that could help in a different environment. Last but not least is Towns. He will be the game changer here. If Wolves want a huge haul, Towns is the key. Towns is 25 years old with a contract that expires in 2024 with an average salary of $31M per. Just something to think about.
Can They Catch The Spurs
This goes back to their expectations. The Minnesota Timberwolves could be playoff-bound if they play as a team. The San Antonio Spurs are no better than them. Last season, the Spurs won 12 more games but a lot of that was due to the Wolves’ organization being held hostage by a player. Butler destroyed the chemistry and trade rumors of Butler, Towns, Wiggins, and Teague did not help any.
Many expect the Spurs to slip as the talent level has done the same. No more Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker or Kawhi Leonard. While still being led by DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge, the Spurs are still searching for consistency. This may be the window the Wolves need. If they can find balance, the Wolves could sneak pass the Spurs and into the playoffs.
Is Robert Covington The X-Factor
The Minnesota Timberwolves will go as far as Robert Covington takes them. Yes, you heard that correctly. It won’t come down to Towns, Teague or Wiggings, but Covington. The stretch 4 will play the same role that Jimmy Butler was supposed to play while with the Timberwolves. Butler is a better scorer and perimeter defender than Covington but the former 76er has his own swag to add to this team.
In 2018, after the trade from the Philadelphia 76ers, Covington averaged 14.5 points and 5.7 rebounds while shooting .433 percent from the floor. If he can continue that trend while locking down opposing PFs in the paint, this will bode well for the team on the defensive end. Having a stretch 4 for a full season like Covington will take the pressure off Towns in the post.