Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Taj Gibson 3 of 7 players to start every game in 2017-18
Only seven players have played and started in all 82 games last season, one of them was notably LeBron James, who did so for the first time of his career at age 33, Surprisingly, three Minnesota Timberwolves were on that list (h/t Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype — newly-extended center Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Taj Gibson — the ultimate display of Tom Thibodeau’s starter-heavy philosophy.
Besides the Timberwolves, no other team has had more than one player start all 82 games, as most teams have bought into the idea of player rest or fell victim to the injury bug. Other than the aforementioned four, only Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal, Atlanta Hawks forward Taurean Prince and Milwaukee Bucks sharpshooter Khris Middleton logged all 82 starts for their respective teams.
While this has bode well for starters looking to maximize their minutes, it could have a different effect in the team’s reserves, as it did with Jamal Crawford, who opted out of his deal quickly after one year with the team after seeing the least amount of minutes on the floor since his rookie year.
This was a three-time Sixth Man of the Year who virtually had to battle his way for more minutes, but couldn’t due to a crowded backcourt situation, which became even more so with the arrival of Derrick Rose.
Thibodeau seems to have overplayed his hand with the handling of Butler’s trade request, but could also be doing so in the locker room, staying loyal to his old-school ways and failing to adapt to a more fair and involving way to give other players opportunities.