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Timberwolves’ Jimmy Butler likely to play more power forward in small-ball lineups

Jimmy Butler, Timberwolves

There have been some rumblings about Jimmy Butler possibly getting traded in advance of his 2019 free agency, but for now he’s still on the Minnesota Timberwolves. Head coach Tom Thibodeau has the responsibility of getting the best out of Jimmy Buckets, including playing him more as a power forward in smaller lineups, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.

Butler has played almost primarily shooting guard and small forward in his career, but he could see more time at the 4 now that Minnesota has added new pieces in hopes of competing better in a stacked Western Conference.

Gone are Jamal Crawford, Nemanja Bjelica, Cole Aldrich and Marcus Georges-Hunt, while Anthony Tolliver, James Nunnally, Josh Okogie and Keita Bates-Diop were acquired to replace them. Derrick Rose was also re-signed. The power forward position is currently thin with only Taj Gibson and Tolliver in the rotation, giving Butler more opportunities to play there.

In these smaller lineups, Wiggins can play his natural spot at the 3, while Derrick Rose can play the 2 and Jeff Teague or Tyus Jones can play point guard. The center position belongs to Karl-Anthony Towns, who can shoot from the arc and run fast breaks, which makes him perfect for small-ball offense despite his size.

Butler is a two-way stud who can be relied upon for defending the opposing team’s best player. Thibodeau knows how to utilize him, owing to their partnership with the Chicago Bulls in the past. With the way the small-ball offense is changing the landscape of the NBA, it is not surprising the Wolves are looking to embrace it more.