The Minnesota Timberwolves have been much better with D’Angelo Russel than without. Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (K.A.T.) was partnered with Russel in trade around this time of year last year. Ever since these two have been the foundation of the Timberwolves’ rebuilding plans. Each of the past two seasons, these two have found a hard time remaining on the court with one another. Injuries have stunted the Timberwolves for several years now. However, as of now, they have played 42 games together this season and have a winning record of 26-16. The year prior, they played in only 24 games together and were 13-11.
Russell has had a hard time in the NBA finding a home. He was a Laker for some time, then the incident with Nick “Swaggy P” Young occurred and it seemed many turned their back on him. Eventually, he was traded to the Brooklyn Nets. Where he was sent to finish his career out and not turn into anything remotely close to an All-Star. He battles injuries early on, however, he finds his groove in year two with the Nets. He carries the team to the playoffs with a mediocre roster. Unfortunately, he’s immediately traded for Kyrie Irving and others. Many found hope for Russell, as he joins Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors. However, nobody could have predicted the injuries and he then was traded midway through the year to Minnesota. Now K.A.T. and Russell are attempting to build something special.
This duo is much better than expected
According to Statmuse, the dynamic guard and big duo are averaging 19 minutes a game together on the floor. In those minutes, the Timberwolves are averaging 134 points per 100 possessions, per NBA.com. Just to put it into perspective, the Brooklyn Nets with future Hall of Famers, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving, lead the NBA in offensive efficiency at 117.5.
Many feel that they’ve displayed their potential to be great amongst each other. However, it’s a small sample size of what these two can accomplish if they remain healthy or play more consistently together. Russell, Towns, and Anthony Edwards make for a difficult trio for teams to defend and scheme around. The firepower these three contain is, to say the least, scary for opponents. Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch tends to run a lot of “horns’ sets that get all three involved offensively. Not to mention, the pick and rolls between Russell and Towns have proven to be deadly.
“They’re both really clever and are able to read the defenses well,” Finch said They’re able to get to their own shots and create them.”
Looks like D’Angelo Russel and Karl-Anthony Towns are on a mission this upcoming season 😤 pic.twitter.com/6knlkad6J8
— Timberwolves Nation (@TWolvesNationCP) August 19, 2021
The Timberwolves have room for improvement
There’s no secret that both Russell and Towns are considered high IQ basketball players. Russell continues to show off his ability to read the floor and throw assists throughout the game. Not to mention, his offensive presence, he can cut to the basket off the ball. Combining Russell’s assets with Town also being considered one of the best passing big men in the NBA. These two not only create offense for themselves, but they can also help create offense for others around them. Ultimately, making this duo one of the league’s most dangerous and calls for defensive attention on a nightly basis.
It may come as no surprise that the Timberwolves are struggling defensively to get stops. However, many believed the offensive domination is so potent it would essentially cancel out the lack of defense from both superstars. As long as they are willing to understand there’s room for improvement; however, there’s something to build upon. This team has the roster to make a push late in the playoffs and upset people’s favorite teams.
“It’s just great to be on the court with him. We’ve had this vision for so long. The universe just didn’t want to see us together that quick,” Towns said.