• 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

  • Julius Randle - F - New Orleans Pelicans

    According to Shams Charania, Julius Randle will not be picking up his $9M player option for next season and will be an unrestricted free agent.

    Randle is coming off a sweet breakout season in 2018-19 and has his eyes set on a big payday from a team willing to fork out the dough. This move is not too surprising considering that the Pelicans' frontcourt could get a bit more crowded come draft day as the team is expected to select 6'6" big man Zion Williamson (Duke) with the first overall pick.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Kyrie Irving - G - Boston Celtics

    According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, despite the recent traction that the Nets have gained towards building mutual interest with Kyrie Irving, the Lakers are still a potential landing spot for him now that they've traded for Anthony Davis.

    Prior to the Nets rising to the top of the hill, the Lakers were rumored to be a serious option for Irving, especially after he mended fences with LeBron James. The Lakers' acquisition of AD (come July 6), does add some recruiting star power to the organization, so enticing a guard of Irving's caliber might just be their next big step towards competing for a title in 2019-20.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Kristaps Porzingis - F/C - Dallas Mavericks

    Kristaps Porzingis (torn ACL) is expected to be 100 percent by the start of training camp, per Rick Carlisle.

    The Mavs will need to get the restricted free agent under contract first, but it doesn't sound as though there are any doubts that Porzingis will be suiting up for the Mavs. KP will be an interesting name to track throughout the offseason and preseason, as his health will help stabilize his ADP. When healthy, Porzingis is an early-round talent and will finally be playing with another player (or players, depending on free agency) of his caliber in Dallas.

    Source: Mavs.com

  • Bruno Fernando - C - College

    Bruno Fernando was among a 12-man group to work out for the Jazz.

    Fernando will become the first player born in Angola to be drafted next week, but where he falls is still up for debate. The Jazz pick at 23 and 53, so if they’re going to take the plunge it will have to be in the first round. Fernando averaged 13.6 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.9 blocks for Maryland last season and the Jazz believe that he can develop a solid outside shot. Fernando’s defensive abilities give him an intriguing fantasy outlook, though his playing time will obviously be determined by his landing spot. The other headliners of Utah’s latest workout were Talen Horton-Tucker and Luguentz Dort. The Jazz also invited Terry Harris — the younger brother of free agent Tobias Harris — to the session.

    Source: Salt Lake Tribune

  • Coby White - G - College

    Coby White and Nassir Little are scheduled to work out with the Wizards on Monday.

    White’s name is particularly interesting, as most mock drafts have him off the board before Washington selects at No. 9. It would only take one or two surprises to put White within their reach, however, so it could be some due diligence mixed with wishful thinking. The Wizards should be going with the best player available strategy, but it is worth noting that White is a 6’5″ guard and Little is a 6’6″ forward given how the Wizards currently have most of their salary tied up in the backcourt.

    Source: Washington Wizards on Twitter

  • Vlatko Cancar - F - Denver Nuggets

    Nuggets President of Basketball Ops Tim Connelly thinks that Vlatko Cancar could join the Nuggets this season.

    Playing in Spain this season, Denver's second-rounder from the 2017 draft put up 10.4 points and 3.8 rebounds per contest while shooting 46.4 percent from the field. Last summer he scored 9.0 points per game with the Nuggets in Summer League, and his continued growth has made an impression on Denver's top brass. "I thought he had a very big summer league last summer, he's a guy who's going to wear a Nuggets uniform sooner rather than later," said Connelly. Cancar is a name to know in deep dynasty formats but we don't envision him getting significant minutes if he makes the team.

    Source: NBA.com

  • Anthony Davis - F/C - Los Angeles Lakers

    According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Pelicans and Lakers will complete the Anthony Davis trade on July 6.

    July 6 is the first day that trades can be processed and it will drastically impact the Lakers' cap space. The Lakers would rather process the trade in late July, at least 30 days after the draft, so that they will have $32.5 million in cap rather than $23.4. Wojnarowski also reported that Davis is unlikely to waive his $4 million trade kicker which will also hamper LA's cap space. If the Lakers can't put together enough for a max contract player, it'll throw a big wrench into free agency. With this story constantly evolving, stay tuned for updates.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Clint Capela - C - Houston Rockets

    The Boston Celtics and the Brooklyn Nets are considered to be the two main teams exploring trade scenarios for Clint Capela according to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders.

    With the biggest trade chip of the summer in Anthony Davis off the table, Capela figures to be next in line to draw significant interest around the league. In the Celtics scenario, Capela could either play alongside Horford or become his replacement depending on what Horford decides on his player option. However, seeing how reluctant they were to include some of their big assets in the AD trade, the same could be the case here. For the Brooklyn side it would be tough to imagine them pulling off a deal for Capela that doesn't involve moving Jarrett Allen, as the two have too similar of games to really play them together. This is all obviously very much in the speculation stage, but it is worth keeping an eye on both of these teams in regards to the Rockets' big man as the summer's arms race heads into full swing.

    Source: Steve Kyler on Twitter

  • Jayson Tatum - F - Boston Celtics

    The Celtics were unwilling to include Jayson Tatum in negotiations for Anthony Davis according to Marc Stein of the New York Times.

    It appears that the Celtics were never truly players in the AD sweepstakes, as it's tough to imagine talk went very far without Tatum in the fold. In the wake of this deal, it is becoming more and more apparent that the Celtics are prepared to pivot to handing Tatum the keys to the franchise, especially considering their chances of resigning Kyrie Irving appear to be dwindling by the day. Tatum did not have the breakout campaign many were hoping for in his second year, but if he goes into next season as Boston's clear cut number one option perhaps he could be in line for said breakout in year three.

    Source: Marc Stein on Twitter

  • David Griffin - Team - New Orleans Pelicans

    Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that multiple teams are already indicating significant interest in acquiring the No. 4 pick in next week's draft, which now belongs to the Pelicans.

    In case you missed it, the Pelicans have agreed to trade Anthony Davis to the Lakers for a package that includes the fourth selection in the 2019 draft, which the Pelicans may flip to get a quality roster player or another young asset. David Griffin stood firm in his requests on a Davis deal, and although he was unable to get Kyle Kuzma included in the trade, the Pelicans came away with Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, two future first-rounders and the No. 4 pick in next week's draft, which could lead to more picks or additional players. Expect New Orleans to be at the center of plenty of rumors over the next few days.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter