With an established star and several young talents to build around, the Minnesota Timberwolves are attempting to establish themselves as a playoff contender once again.
From established players like Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins to newcomers like Josh Okogie and Jarrett Culver, we’re taking a weekly look at the present, and future, of the Wolves.
Each Thursday we’ll also track the progress of the Iowa Wolves standouts who might be of help to the Wolves in the future, or a current member of Minnesota’s roster.
This is the 6th edition of the 2019-20 Young Wolves Tracker.
Spotlight on …
Guard Jaylen Nowell
Things haven’t been going well in Minnesota recently for the Timberwolves, but there’s reason to be excited about some goings on in Iowa.
Nowell, a second-round pick in 2019, continues to perform well with the G League’s Iowa Wolves.
With Keita Bates-Diop now up with the big club full-time, Nowell is Iowa’s go-to scorer. This past week he averaged 19.7 points in three games, with a high of 23 (he’s very consistent). On the season he’s averaging 21.4 points per game.
But Nowell isn’t a volume shooter who is scoring because he’s taking a lot of shots. His 15.7 field-goal attempts per game do lead Iowa but puts him tied for 16th in that category in the G League (min. 10 games played).
Nowell, though, is doing something the others in the top 16 aren’t – making at least half his shots.
In fact, he’s making exactly 50% of his field-goal attempts on the season – and that’s with attempting 6.6 3-pointers per game.
Of course, Nowell is shooting well from downtown as well. His 45.2 three-point percentage is 10th in the G League (min. 10 games and 3.0 attempts per game). Of those in the top 10, only two are taking as many 3-pointers per game than Nowell.
Nowell also shoots well from the line, coming in at 80.8%.
In addition, Nowell is third on the team in rebounding (5.5) and second in assists (2.9).
Nowell has been recalled by Minnesota twice this month – Dec. 6 and Dec. 16 – but didn’t play in either game. He’s appeared twice in an NBA contest thus far – just over a minute on Nov. 6 at Memphis and got 13 1/2 minutes vs. Phoenix on Nov. 23.
The way he’s going, Nowell could be in line for some time with the big Wolves in 2020.
— Speaking of the G League, Naz Reid had a couple of big games last week for Iowa. The center had 25 points (on 10-of-18 shooting) and nine rebounds on Dec. 14 and 23 points (on 9-of-13 shooting) and 12 rebounds on Dec. 17.
— Andrew Wiggins continues to rack up points. He scored 30 on Dec. 13 vs. the Clippers, his fifth game with 30+ points this season – he had four such games all of last season. He’s also scored 26 or more points in three straight games. He’s had only one longer streak in his career, when he did it in nine straight from Feb. 6-27, 2017.
— Karl-Anthony Towns played in only one game due to injury but he had his 18th double-double (in 23 games), going for 39 points and 12 rebounds against Los Angeles.
— Couple of younger bench players could be vying for more time. Jordan Bell (two games) and Noah Vonleh (one game) both shot 60% from the field last week.