7-26 • 15th in WESTERN CONFERENCE
|G||19||N/A||6' 4"||225 lbs||GEORGIA|
|G||25||$27,285,000||6' 4"||193 lbs||OHIO STATE|
|C-F||31||$4,767,000||6' 9"||218 lbs||NORTH CAROLINA|
|F||20||N/A||6' 9"||185 lbs||WASHINGTON|
|F||26||$3,581,986||6' 8"||209 lbs||MARYLAND|
|F||21||$1,416,852||6' 9"||214 lbs||KENTUCKY|
|G-F||22||$5,813,640||6' 6"||195 lbs||TEXAS TECH|
|G||21||$1,400,000||6' 4"||201 lbs||WASHINGTON|
|G||24||N/A||5' 11"||185 lbs||USC|
|G||22||$2,530,680||6' 4"||213 lbs||GEORGIA TECH|
|F||25||$3,321,030||6' 9"||214 lbs||N/A|
|C-F||25||$27,250,000||6' 11"||248 lbs||KENTUCKY|
|G||24||$2,731,714||6' 4"||187 lbs||FLORIDA STATE|
|C-F||21||$898,310||6' 9"||264 lbs||LSU|
|G||30||$16,190,476||6' 3"||190 lbs||N/A|
The Minnesota Timberwolves hit the jackpot when they received the first overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. They used it on highly-touted Georgia freshman Anthony Edwards, who was coming off a tremendous one-and-done year with the Bulldogs. The 6-foot-5 guard put up averages of 19.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 2.8 assists in college while also connecting on 2.3 triples per game. That was more than enough to earn Edwards the first overall pick from the Wolves.
Drafting Edwards was not the only big move the Timberwolves pulled off in the offseason, though. They also brought back veteran playmaker Ricky Rubio from the Oklahoma City Thunder (shortly after he was traded by the Phoenix Suns) in exchange for James Johnson, Aleksej Pokusevski, and a future second-round pick. The Wolves also traded for Ed Davis from the Utah Jazz (via the New York Knicks).
Minnesota lost Allen Crabbe, Evan Turner, and Kelan Martin via free agency, while Omari Spellman was sent away via trade (Knicks).
Malik Beasley signed a four-year extension worth $60 million, while Juan Hernangomez also renewed his deal by signing a new three-year, $21 million contract.
Perhaps the one thing most Minnesota fans will look forward to this season is the partnership of Karl-Anthony Towns and D'Angelo Russell. Best friends in real life, the pair was not able to really get too many reps in last season due to a combination of injuries and, of course, the coronavirus pandemic. These two will determine how much success the Wolves will have in the future.
Town and Russell will be joined by Jarrett Culver, Malik Beasley, and Juan Hernanzgomex on the starting five. Key players coming off the bench include Rubio, Edwards, Josh Okogie, and Naz Reid, to name a few.
The Wolves have made it to the playoffs just once in the past 16 years (2018), and it is due time for another postseason run for this squad. Towns is already 25 and will be in the sixth season of his career, so the future has to be now for Minnesota.
There are just no two ways about it: the Timberwolves struggled mightily as a unit on the offensive end during the 2019-20 season. Their 107.6 offensive rating last season ranked all the way down at 24th in the NBA.
In terms of scoring, the Wolves actually weren't all that bad in 2019-20. They averaged 113.3 points per game, good for 12th in the NBA. They weren't one of the best teams in the league in terms of scoring, but at least they were in the top half.
It was their field-goal percentage that killed them. On the season, they shot just 44.1 percent from the field, which ranked 28th. They took the second-most shots in the league with 91.6 field-goal attempts per game.
Minnesota loved the three-ball, but unfortunately for them, it did not love them back. The Timberwolves attempted 39.7 triples per contest in 2019-20 (third), but they made just 33.6 percent of them (28th). Needless to say, efficiency from the field is something this team will want to drastically improve this season.
One of the silver linings for the Wolves' offense was their ability to get to the foul line. They attempted 25.4 free throws per game, third most in the league. However, they need to work on their efficiency from the line, as they shot just 75.3 percent from the stripe (23rd). Getting to the free-throw line won't have much use if they aren't able to convert.
In terms of moving the ball around, Minnesota averaged just 23.8 assists per game (19th).
The Wolves also struggled to take care of the rock. They turned the ball over 15.3 times per game, which ranked 24th in the NBA.
When you talk about the top defensive sides in the NBA in the 2019-20 season, the Minnesota Timberwolves are not mentioned. The Wolves garnered a 111.6 defensive rating as a unit, which ranked just 20th in the entire NBA.
Minnesota gave up 117.5 points per game, which ranked a lowly 28th. Their opponents attempted 90.4 shots per game (23rd) and made 47.7 percent of them (25th). Simply put, Minnesota won't find much success if they allow their opponents to score nearly 120 points on them every single night.
One positive from 2020-21 was Minnesota holding the opposition to just 31.9 triples per game (fifth). Opposing teams shot just 36.3 percent from distance, which was a respectable ninth in the NBA.
Then again, considering Minnesota allowed the most two-point field goal attempts on the season (58.5), as well as the strong opposition's field-goal rate (53.9 percent - 23rd), the conclusion is that opponents just opted to take advantage of Minnesota's weak interior defense as opposed to shooting three-pointers.
This resulted in the Wolves giving up 25.2 free throws per contest, 26th in the league.
In terms of rebounding, Minnesota actually wasn’t too bad. They averaged 44.8 boards per game (14th), with 34.3 of them coming on the defensive end (18th).
The Timberwolves were solid in terms of steals and blocks. They ranked third and fourth, in these defensive categories respectively, averaging 8.7 steals and 5.7 blocks per game. Minnesota forced 15.5 turnovers from their opponents, which ranked a respectable eighth in the NBA.
The Wolves were not a very good defensive team in 2019-20. Nevertheless, they can take away a few positives from their performance to build on in 2020-21.
The Wolves parted ways with Ryan Saunders after a horrendous start to the 2020-21 campaign. In his place, the front office brought in Chris Finch, who previously served as an assistant coach for the Toronto Raptors.
Finch, 51, is a first-time NBA head coach. Prior to taking over the helm in Minnesota, he had previous assistant coaching stints with the Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets, and the New Orleans Pelicans, where he also held the title of associate head coach during the 2019-20 season.
Finch inherits a total of six assistants from Saunders' regime, which includes former NBA player Pablo Prigioni and David Vanterpool as the leads.
Bryan Gates, Kevin Hanson, Kevin Burleson, and Joseph Blair are Finch's other assistant coaches.
Minnesota wasn't very active in free agency in 2020. Their only free agent signing in the window came in the form of 21-year-old point guard Ashton Hagans. The former Kentucky standout signed on a two-way deal.
The Wolves were able to re-sign a couple of their own players during the offseason. Malik Beasley signed a four-year deal worth $60 million, while Juan Hernangomez inked a deal for three years and $21 million. Both players were part of the four-team trade in February 2020 that involved the Houston Rockets (they got Robert Covington), the Atlanta Hawks (acquired Clint Capela), and the Denver Nuggets.
The Timberwolves were very quiet during 2020 free agency. The only free agent they signed was Ashton Hagans, a 21-year-old point guard.
The team's lack of movement was not surprising considering the Wolves had limited cap room available. They were still linked to a number of other free agents in the offseason, including Jeff Teague, Justin Holiday, and Gorgui Dieng.
During the 2020 offseason, Minnesota wanted to add depth to their frontcourt and acquired veteran big man Ed Davis from the New York Knicks. In the trade, the Timberwolves sent New York Omari Spellman, Jacob Evans, and a 2026 second-round pick.
Davis has mostly served as a backup, accumulating a few healthy DNP's as a fringe rotation player.
He is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, so Minnesota can either re-sign Davis to an extension, use him as a trade chip, or let him walk in the summer. The Wolves did not give up significant assets in the trade, so losing Davis for nothing wouldn’t be a big deal.
As a franchise, the Timberwolves haven't found much success since their founding in 1989. Their deepest playoff run was to the Western Conference Finals in 2004. That Wolves squad won 58 games, still standing as the franchise record.
Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett headlined the 2003-04 Wolves roster, winning the MVP. Lattrell Sprewell, Sam Cassell, Ervin Johnson, Wally Szczerbiak, Trenton Hassell, and Michael Olawakandi were key members of that roster.
The Wolves entered the 2020-21 season significantly above the league-mandated capo threshold. According to spotrac, Minnesota has a total cap of $132.0 million, which is around $22.8 million over the salary cap.
Their two best players, Karl-Anthony Towns and D'Angelo Russell, take up 44.1 percent of the team's total cap allocation. Towns is earning $29.5 million this season, while Russell is pocketing $28.7 million.
Ricky Rubio, an offseason acquisition, has Minnesota’s third-highest cap hit with a salary of $17 million. Malik Beasley ($13.4 million) and rookie Anthony Edwards ($9.8 million) round out the top five.
The Timberwolves’ Sixth Man role has fallen on the capable shoulders of Ricky Rubio.
Rubio joined the Wolves in the offseason as part of a three-team offseason trade with the New York Knicks and the Oklahoma City Thunder, just days after Rubio was traded by the Phoenix Suns to the Thunder as part of the Chris Paul deal.
Rubio had a slow start to the 2020-21 campaign. However, he was able to pick up the pace as the team's makeshift starter in the wake of D'Angelo Russell's knee injury. When Russell returns, Rubio will be Minnesota's most important player off the bench as the floor general for the second unit.
Injuries were problematic for the Timberwolves early in the 2020-21 season as well as a suspension for Malik Beasley, so we haven't had a chance to see their best lineup for long stretches. A healthy Minnesota side fields a starting five of D'Angelo Russell, Beasley, rookie Anthony Edwards, Josh Okogie, and Karl-Anthony Towns.