Minnesota Timberwolves season recap before trade deadline

Andrew Neururer
Sports Editor

The Minnesota Timberwolves are having a disappointing season, sitting 14th in the Western Conference with a record of 15-32. 

After starting the season winning its first three games and sitting 10-8 on Nov. 27, the Wolves have started to plummet ever since.

In that stretch the team has experience long losing streaks, currently riding a 10-game skid after suffering an embarrassing loss to the Sacramento Kings on Jan. 27, after holding a 17-point lead with 2:49 left in the game. 

The Timberwolves’ longest losing streak this season is 11 games, a span where they didn’t win a game in nearly a month. Things started to turn around after they finally won their first game on Dec. 26, winning five out of their eight games. 

They will now look to end that losing streak on Saturday against the Los Angeles Clippers. This is head coach Ryan Saunders first year leading the team and will take some time for the team to adjust to their new fast paced, 3-point shooting offense.

While the season has held many disappointments, there has been two players that have been playing at a rather high level.

Karl-Anthony Towns is leading the team in scoring and sits ninth in the NBA with 26.9 points per game. He’s also averaging 10.7 points per game and has a career high with 4.2 assists. Towns has had no troubles shooting the ball, shooting 51.1% from the field and 41.2% from the 3-point line.

Andrew Wiggins has taken a lot of scrutiny after the amount of hype surrounding him since entering the league and since he signed his max contract. After putting in a lot of work this season, Wiggins has played better and has been noticeably more engaged throughout games.

This year, he is averaging 22.9 points per game and is seeing career-highs with 5.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 0.9 blocks. A big revolution to his better play has been the coach slotting him as the point guard, which has helped him stay engaged and operate the offense. He is also shooting 44.8% from the field and 33.3% from distance.

Minnesota has struggled with finding offense or any sort of groove when Wiggins or Towns are not in the game. Robert Covington has been hot-and-cold this season but is the team’s third leading scorer after Jeff Teague was traded recently for Allen Crabbe.

The trade deadline is fast approaching, as Minnesota will try and field offers before Feb. 6. The Timberwolves are sought to be active players at the deadline and the hot commodity will be Robert Covington. 

With a mix of his 3-and-D play and his cheap contract, it’s been reported that several teams have been eyeing the former Tennessee State Tiger. 

Minnesota traded Dario Saric and the 11th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft to move up to select Jarrett Culver with the No. 6 overall pick. Culver has been hit or miss this season but has shown flashes of a potential two-way star. 

Between Dec. 30 and Jan. 18, Culver scored double digits points in 11 straight games. He has done a good job on defense and has been getting to the rim for easy baskets. However, his shot is still a work in progress. Currently averaging 9.4 points per game, but is shooting 38.7% from the field, 27.7% from the 3-point line and 45.6% from the charity stripe. 

Minnesota will need his contributions for them to break out of this slump and potentially make a run at the playoffs in the coming years.

While the playoffs don’t look to be in order for the Timberwolves, they will need to be active towards the Feb. 6, trade deadline to move into the offseason with a clear goal in mind. There have been a lot of disappointments this season, but they have had some other bright moments.

Header photo: Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns drives past Sacramento Kings forward Nemanja Bjelica during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, in Minneapolis. The Kings won 133-129 in overtime. (AP Photo/Craig Lassig)

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