Minnesota Timberwolves 2017-18 Staff Predictions

SHANGHAI, CHINA - OCTOBER 05: Jimmy Butler (Photo by Zhong Zhi/Getty Images)
SHANGHAI, CHINA - OCTOBER 05: Jimmy Butler (Photo by Zhong Zhi/Getty Images) /
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Biggest Surprise

Collin Kottke: Gorgui Dieng. The many additions the Wolves made this offseason have overshadowed some of the great things that the team already had ob their roster. One of those things is Dieng. Dieng has improved every single season of his NBA career and I don’t think that is going to change this season. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Dieng be in the Sixth Man of the Year conversation, that’s how good he is.

Jake Andersen: Jeff Teague. Yes, he’s a veteran that’s proven himself reliable in a starting role. BUT, I think Wolves fan will find him as a much better fit on this team than Ricky Rubio. In fact, I see the point guard putting up similar assist numbers to the passing wizard. Last season, Teague averaged 7.8 points per game with a Pacers squad with less weapons. With Minnesota, he has Towns, Butler and Wiggins to feed so there’s reason to believe that numbers goes up. Maybe, to the 9.1 assists per game Rubio had last year. Also, expect Teague to average at least 15 points and shoot at a far better rate than Rubio.

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Travis Young: Nemanja Bjelica. Strong player off the bench that’s 3-point percentage reaches a career-high.

Leo Wieffering: Taj Gibson. Veteran leadership and a reunion with former Bull’s coach Tom Thibodeau will lead to the quality power forward production that the Wolves need, whether that be as a starter or off the bench.

Lucas Ailport: What the Wolves were able to obtain during the offseason. The Jimmy Butler trade shocked me. Once that happened, it was like a domino effect with bringing in veterans. The Wolves obtained a possible starter in Jeff Teague and added two great bench additions in Jamal Crawford and Taj Gibson.

Noah Shelton: The veteran leadership of the Wolves helps improve performances on the road.

Payton Miller: Shabazz Muhammad. Back at the beginning of the offseason, there was virtually no chance of a Shabazz reunion, but after he failed to sign a long term deal, he’s back. With the Wolves overall lack of depth, Muhammad has the potential to provide much needed scoring off the bench. Jamal Crawford was a great signing, but I believe there will be a couple games where Muhammad is the spark plug off the bench that the Wolves need.

Nolan Schmidt: Jeff Teague. The former Indiana Pacer has massive shoes to fill with Ricky Rubio being traded. I think much of the sour fan reception towards Teague has to do with their allegiance to Rubio. However, Teague’s talent should not be overlooked, and I think he will open the eyes of Timberwolves fans this season.

Related Story: Why Jeff Teague is a better fit than Ricky Rubio!

Biggest Disappointment

Collin Kottke: Backup point guard play. The Wolves finally changed up the point guard spot this offseason after it belong to Ricky Rubio for a long time. Jeff Teague was the man brought in for the starting lineup, but the guards backing him up leave a lo to be desired. Aaron Brooks and Tyus Jones both do little for me. Brooks averaged less than two assists per game last season with the Pacers and seems to be streaky. Jones is still young and is still developing, but will likely never live up to the hype that some in his home state have built up for him. Teague will be fine throughout the season, but the struggles behind him will likely mean that Jimmy Butler will be bringing the ball up the court a lot when Teague is on the bench.

Jake Andersen: 3-point shooting.The one area the Timberwolves didn’t address over the offseason was 3-point shooting. So, I don’t see much improvement happening this year following a season they ranked dead last in 3-point field goals. While I don’t think it plays a huge factor during the regular season, it may play a bigger role if the Wolves are matched up with a team like the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs.

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Travis Young: Jamal Crawford. Age finally catches up with the 37-year-old and his shooting percentage drops significantly.

Leo Wieffering: Shabazz Muhammad. Muhammad is a great scorer off the bench when he’s on his game, but inconsistency will frustrate his production that the Wolves need from the fifth year reserve guard.

Lucas Ailport: Justin Patton. The rookie out of Creighton broke his foot over the summer and had been sidelined ever since. It will be interesting to see how he bounces back and his playing time after he recovers. Patton averaged 13 points and six rebounds last season at Creighton. The Wolves acquired him through the Jimmy Butler trade.

Noah Shelton: After a close battle for the playoffs, the Timberwolves come up short. 

Payton Miller: Defense. Although Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler add much needed defense and toughness, it likely wasn’t enough to drastically improve their defense. Teague graded out much worse than Rubio did on the defensive end. Additionally, Towns and Wiggins still have to improve on that end. I still see the Wolves in the playoffs, but their defense will hold them back from making a run.

Nolan Schmidt: Taj Gibson. I understand why Gibson was signed, but where does this leave Gorgui Dieng? Has Dieng not proven himself to be a worthy starter over the course of his Timberwolves career? I think Gibson is past the prime of his career, and the Wolves are better off starting Dieng.