2021 Minnesota Timberwolves Depth Chart
|Point Guard||D'Angelo Russell||0||Ricky Rubio||9|
|Shooting Guard||Malik Beasley||25||Josh Okogie||20|
|Small Forward||Anthony Edwards||1||Jarrett Culver||23|
|Power Forward||Juancho Hernangomez||41||Jake Layman||10||Jarred Vanderbilt||8|
|Center||Karl Anthony-Towns||32||Naz Reid||11||Ed Davis||17|
After finishing 8th in the Western Conference with a 47-35 record last season, the Minnesota Timberwolves are hoping to improve their record and return to the playoffs this year despite being relatively inactive in free agency and doing nothing in the offseason to improve their team. They came dangerously close to missing the playoffs last season, as they needed an overtime win against the Denver Nuggets in the final game of the season to clinch their spot, but were quickly dispatched in the first round of the playoffs by the Houston Rockets. Tom Thibodeau returns as the head coach and will have the same starting five as last season with very limited depth behind his starting five. The Wolves had the fourth-best offensive rating, 113.4, in the NBA last season but had the fourth-worst defensive rating, 111.1, and played at the seventh slowest pace of all 30 teams. The entire starting five from last season will return for the Wolves but the team as a whole will be tested as their depth is extremely limited. Thibodeau is known for playing his starters a lot of minutes, and three of the starting five averaged at least 35 minutes per game last season, so the reserves don’t need to play a lot of minutes, but if anyone goes down with an injury the team could be in trouble.
Jeff Teague will once again lead the Timberwolves offense at the point guard and he is coming off a season in which he averaged 14.2 points and seven assists in 33 minutes per game. Teague still has the chops to be an effective defender but will need to work on his efficiency on the offensive end of the floor for the Wolves to show signs of improvement this season. Things get a little dicey behind Teague as Derrick Rose will likely get minutes ahead of Tyus Jones despite that being a terrible decision by Thibodeau. Rose has been incredibly inefficient over the past two seasons and is a sieve on defense, and his 11.5 player efficiency rating is well below even a league-average player at this point in his career. The Wolves need Andrew Wiggins to finally take a leap this season if they want to compete and he will need to play heavy minutes for them. Wiggins has had the same issues year after year for the Wolves and that starts with his penchant for hoisting up difficult shots and poor decision making. He averaged just 17.7 points per game, his worst average since his rookie year, and shot a career-low 43.7 percent from the floor. Despite his poor shooting and lack of three-point shooting, the Wolves will likely need him to play 38-40 minutes per game as rookie Josh Okogie and C.J. Williams are the only options they have behind Wiggins unless Thibodeau wants to slide Tyus Jones or Derrick Rose to the two-guard position.
Jimmy Butler will occupy the small forward once again this season and having him back to full strength will be a welcome sight for the Wolves. Butler appeared in just 59 games last season but averaged 22.2 points, 4.9 assists, 5.3 rebounds, and two steals per game when he was able to suit up. With Butler off the floor last season, the Timberwolves allowed 112.1 points per game and allowed opponents to shoot 38 percent from beyond-the-arc. Butler will need to shoulder a lot of minutes once again this season as the Timberwolves have no depth behind him with Shabazz Muhammed now in Milwaukee. Rookie Keita Bates-Diop will play behind Butler on the wing, with C.J. Williams potentially taking some minutes as well, and while was an excellent draft pick for the Wolves, it is a tough ask to have a rookie step in and play a major role off the bench. Taj Gibson was a defensive anchor for the Wolves last season and will once again bring grit and hustle to the starting lineup while Anthony Tolliver brings a veteran presence and floor-spacing to the second unit behind Gibson. Despite a poor showing in the playoffs last season, Karl-Anthony Towns is a bright spot for the Wolves and will look to improve on a strong last season where he averaged 21.3 points and 12.3 rebounds per game. Gorgui Dieng gives them a veteran presence of the bench and Justin Patton will likely see minutes at some point this season after missing all of last season for the Wolves.