• The Minnesota Timberwolves underwent significant turnover this offseason as head coach and team president Tom Thibodeau reshaped the roster, adding 10 new players while sending seven out the door. As a result there is some uncertainty on how these new pieces will affect the performance on the court, and how last year’s strengths and weaknesses translate into this season.

    Below we will examine how the Wolves fared as a team last season and how the offseason additions may affect team performance.

    Weaknesses

    3-point shooting (NBA Rank 20th of 30 in 3P%, 30th in 3PA)

    Zach LaVine and Brandon Rush were the Wolves’ top 3-point shooters last season at 38.7 percent and 38.6 percent respectively. They are being replaced with Jimmy Butler and Jamal Crawford, who both ranked worse percentage wise. Teague over Rubio is a solid improvement, but 3-point shooting may continue to be an issue.

    Defense (NBA Rank 28th of 30 in overall FG%)

    The Wolves were not effective in getting stops last season. Bringing in Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson addresses the huge need, but it will take improvements from existing rotation players to dramatically help this defense.

    Experience

    The Timberwolves had a total of 33 games of playoff experience from their rotation players last season, all coming from Cole Aldrich and Brandon Rush. This offseason the Wolves added 272 games of playoff experience. Bringing these veteran players in to establish a winning culture was a point of emphasis. Jimmy Butler has discussed accountability and wanting guys to get “pissed off” if they are scored on so far in training camp.

    Strengths

    Offensive rebounding (NBA Rank: 6th of 30)

    Adding big men Taj Gibson and Justin Patton to this group should help keep this number strong, but also replacing Zach LaVine and Ricky Rubio with Jimmy Butler and Jeff Teague may help improve upon it. Though it may start sounding redundant that’s how big of a piece Butler is for this team. He is a true all-around talent.

    Interior Scoring (NBA Rank: 10th of 30 in 2-point FG%, 5th of 30 in FT%)

    Teague and Butler are a big upgrade inside the arc over Rubio, but LaVine may end up being a tougher loss than anticipated inside, after shooting 52% from 2-point range. Gibson coming in also gives the bench unit more scoring in the post, either through himself or from Gorgui Dieng getting shifted to a reserve role.

    Summary

    A team with 31 wins doesn’t have many strengths, and the Wolves were quick to address their needs without jeopardizing the things they can do well. If we look at how the new additions would have affected the team percentages last season, it helps give a better idea of how the team may fare going into this season.

    From the point guard position, by replacing Ricky Rubio and Kris Dunn with Jeff Teague and Aaron Brooks the team would have seen an improvement of 6.2 percent in 3P% (30.1 percent to 36.3 percent) and a 4.1 percent increase in 2-point FG% (42.3 percent to 46.4 percent). Assist percentage would fall 1.2 percent (58.3 percent to 57.1 percent), and rebound percentage would fall 3.2 percent (14.5 percent to 11.3 percent).

    From the shooting guard position, by replacing Zach LaVine and Brandon Rush with Jimmy Butler and Jamal Crawford the team would have seen a loss of 2.4 percent in 3P% (38.7 to 36.3 percent) and a 1.5 percent decrease in 2-point FG% (49.0 percent to 47.5 percent). Assist percentage would increase 21.6 percent (18.4 to 40.0 percent), and rebound percentage would increase 1.3 percent (11.0 percent to 12.3 percent).

    This isn’t an exact correlation because it’s impossible to replicate each situation. The volume of shots taken from each new addition is also significantly greater compared to last year’s personnel. With more guys in the rotation and less shots to go around, it will be worth looking where the offense is distributed and how the resulting efficiency stats shape up.

    On the surface though it is apparent that the Wolves added a number of versatile playmakers and will be able to provide many different dimensions to the offense. How it ultimately shapes up will be one of the many storylines this season.

Fantasy News

  • Austin Rivers - G - Houston Rockets

    Austin Rivers (sore right elbow) is being listed as probable for Friday's tilt vs. the Lakers.

    Rivers has taken a step back ever since Chris Paul came back from his injury and has been posting value outside the top-200. As long as the Rockets' starting guards are healthy, Rivers can be left on the wire.

    Source: NBA.com

  • Tyus Jones - G - Minnesota Timberwolves

    Tyus Jones, who is expected to practice on Thursday, says that he won't have restrictions once he's back, which could be on Friday vs. the Knicks.

    Jones' return is something to watch especially by managers in deep leagues. He's been known to be a viable stream target for steals. That said, as long as Jeff Teague and Derrick Rose are healthy, Jones is not an option in standard leagues.

    Source: Julian Andrews on Twitter

  • Trey Lyles - F - Denver Nuggets

    Trey Lyles hobbled off the court during the Nuggets' practice on Wednesday, so consider him questionable for Friday's game vs. the Mavs.

    Lyles has not held much value while Paul Millsap is healthy and active and this news does not help his short-term outlook. You can consider dropping him in deep leagues for a more promising FA.

    Source: Harrison Wind on Twitter

  • Gary Harris - G - Denver Nuggets

    Gary Harris, who has missed the Nuggets' last seven games due to a right adductor strain, is available to play vs. the Mavs on Friday.

    Harris has had a rocky 2018-19 season to say the least, dealing with an assortment of injuries that have kept him off the floor for multiple games. Hopefully, he can finally stay healthy for the second half of the season. He has a top-30 upside when at 100 percent health, so feel free to slot him in your active lineups.

    Source: Christian Clark on Twitter

  • Emanuel Terry - PF - Miami Heat

    The Heat have signed undrafted D2 All-American forward Emanuel Terry to a 10-day contract.

    Terry played in nine games for the Heat's G-League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce this season and posted averages of 16.4 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.1 blocks per game. He's currently not someone worth picking up in fantasy leagues.

    Source: Anthony Chiang on Twitter

  • Troy Brown Jr. - F - Washington Wizards

    According to Candace Buckner, Wizards rookie Troy Brown Jr., who missed the last several games due to an ankle injury, has been looking "fresh and spry" while going through a shooting drill.

    Brown has not made much of an impact in fantasy this season, but with the Wizards out of the playoff race, we could see Brown get some run. He's worth keeping an eye on in deep leagues for now.

    Source: Candace Buckner on Twitter

  • Emmanuel Mudiay - G - New York Knicks

    Coach David Fizdale said that he's open to Emmanuel Mudiay (shoulder) and Dennis Smith Jr. together in the backcourt.

    This would make for an interesting albeit the most inefficient scoring backcourt in the league. Even if Mudiay does share the floor with DSJ, he's not going to bring enough fantasy juice to worth an add outside of very deep leagues.

    Source: Ian Begley on Twitter

  • Robin Lopez - C - Chicago Bulls

    Coach Jim Boylen said "We have not discussed a diminished role for him at all" in reference to Robin Lopez, who was shut own post-ASB last season.

    Lopez looks like he'll be sticking it out with the rest of the Bulls starters until further notice. He's good for some points and boards with reasonable field goal shooting but that's about it. As long as you're not expecting to be wowed, Ro-Lo is a decent pickup in 16-team leagues or deeper. Cristiano Felicio is a drop as he won't hold value while Lopez is in play.

    Source: KC Johnson on Twitter

  • Kris Dunn - G - Chicago Bulls

    Kris Dunn (back contusion) is on track to play on Friday after going through Wednesday's practice.

    Dunn missed the last game before the All-Star break but wasn't expected to miss any further time. Ryan Arcidiacono will move back to a bench role going forward.

    Source: Mike McGraw on Twitter

  • Emmanuel Mudiay - G - New York Knicks

    Emmanuel Mudiay (strained left shoulder) will return to the lineup on Friday against the Wolves.

    Mudiay won't be usurping Dennis Smith Jr.'s starting role, so he'll likely have to settle for battling with Frank Ntilikina for backup minutes. He's safe to cut in the vast majority of fantasy leagues.

    Source: Zach Braziller on Twitter