The Minnesota Timberwolves has one of the best young cores in the NBA led by reigning Rookie of the Year, Karl-Anthony Towns. Heading into the 2016-17 NBA season, the Timberwolves are expected to improve their record but can they make it back to the playoffs?
Towns has the potential to become a superstar with Andrew Wiggins also having the same ceiling. Here is SportsRageous’ 2016-17 NBA season preview for the Minnesota Timberwolves that include several analysis, outlook and predictions.
Minnesota Timberwolves 2016-17 NBA Season Preview
The Timberwolves only won 29 games which was the third-worst record in the Western Conference. The team is looking to make the playoffs for the first since 2004 when the recently retired Kevin Garnett led Minnesota to the Western Conference Finals.
“We’ve got to make the playoffs. We’ve got to do something special, and it’s up to us to continue to work and to make that happen,” Towns told Jared Zwerling of NBPA.com in an interview.
Minnesota is entering the 2016-17 NBA season with a new head coach, Tom Thibodeau, who will bring a different mentality to the young Timberwolves team. They currently have 17 players on their training camp roster with only two players not making the final cut.
Minnesota Timberwolves 2016-17 Training Camp Roster
PG: Kris Dunn, Tyus Jones, John Lucas III, Ricky Rubio
SG: Zach LaVine, Toure’ Murry, Brandon Rush
SF: Rasual Butler, Shabazz Muhammad, Andrew Wiggins
PF: Nemanja Bjelica, Gorgui Dieng, Adreian Payne
C: Cole Aldrich, Jordan Hill, Nikola Pekovic, Karl-Anthony Towns
Key Losses: Kevin Garnett (Retirement), Tayshaun Prince (Free Agency)
The Minnesota Timberwolves lost two veteran players in Garnett and Prince but they managed to sign several experienced players via free agency. Another key addition would be head coach Tom Thibodeau, who will look to lead the Timberwolves back to the playoffs.
Key Additions: Kris Dunn (NBA Draft), Brandon Rush (Free Agency), Jordan Hill (Free Agency), Cole Aldrich (Free Agency), Rasual Butler (Free Agency)
The main addition the Timberwolves made was drafting Kris Dunn, who could be the team’s future starting point guard. They also added veteran players such as Rush, Hill, Aldrich and Butler to backup their young guns.
The Timberwolves’ main strength is their athleticism led by Towns, Wiggins and LaVine. The arrival of Tom Thibodeau could help unlock the potential of the three players, as well as Dunn, plus turn the team into one of the best defenses in the league. He is also considered as one of the best head coaches in the NBA today.
The only glaring weakness of this young Minnesota team is their inexperience. They certainly have a chance to beat any team on any given night. The addition of the four veteran players mentioned earlier would be vital in the development of this very young team.
Minnesota Timberwolves 2016-17 Predictions
- Projected 15-Man Roster:
- PG: Kris Dunn, Tyus Jones, Ricky Rubio
- SG: Zach LaVine, Toure’ Murry, Brandon Rush
- SF: Rasual Butler, Shabazz Muhammad, Andrew Wiggins
- PF: Nemanja Bjelica, Gorgui Dieng, Adreian Payne
- C: Cole Aldrich, Jordan Hill, Karl-Anthony Towns
Projected Starting 5: PG – Rubio, SG – LaVine, SF – Wiggins, PF – Dieng, C – Towns
Projected NBA Record: 42 Wins, 9th in the Western Conference