Minnesota Timberwolves Fantasy Basketball Season Preview

Bringing in Thibodeau should improve the Wolves’ poor defense, but there’s also the chance that he negatively impacts the lively and bouncy young teams’ offense.

There’s little reason to doubt that Towns will make the jump to superstar this year, but there could be some dissension in the ranks as former “it” players see their star passed onto the big man. The team added some role-players in the offseason and drafted Kris Dunn who looked NBA ready in last year’s NCAA tournament. The hype train is getting revved up for this team and a few key wins early in the year could put added pressure on a young team.

How they respond will certainly have fantasy implications.

Player Movement

Notable Ins Notable Outs
Brandon Rush Golden State Warriors
Cole Aldrich Los Angeles Clippers
Jordan Hill Indiana Pacers
Kris Dunn NBA Draft
None

Minnesota Timberwolves Depth Chart

Point Guard Shooting Guard Small Forward Power Forward Center
Ricky Rubio
Kris Dunn
Tyus Jones
Zach LaVine
Shabazz Muhammad
Andrew Wiggins
Brandon Rush
Gorgui Dieng
Kevin Garnett
Adreian Payne
Nemanja Bjelica
Karl-Anthony Towns
Jordan Hill
Cole Aldrich
Nikola Pekovic

Rotation Player Projections

POS PLAYER USG MPG PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG% FT% TO
SG Andrew Wiggins 27.1 34 20.1 3.5 1.9 1 0.6 0.7 45.9 76.1 2.1
C Karl-Anthony Towns 26 34 20.3 11.2 2.2 0.7 1.8 0.4 54.2 81.1 2.4
SG Zach LaVine 23.6 30 15 3 3.3 0.9 0.2 1.6 45.2 79.3 2
PF Gorgui Dieng 16.7 30 11.2 7.9 1.9 1.2 1.3 0.1 53.2 82.7 1.9
PG Ricky Rubio 17.6 30 10.5 4.2 9.0 2.1 0.1 0.8 37.4 84.7 2.5
PG Kris Dunn 20 24 10.8 3.1 5.1 1.3 0.3 0.9 43 69 1.5
SG Shabazz Muhammad 22.8 22 11.3 3.5 0.6 0.3 0.1 0.5 46.5 76.4 1
PF Kevin Garnett 11.3 12 2.6 3.2 1.3 0.6 0.2 0 47 66.7 0.3
SF Brandon Rush 12.6 12 3.4 2 0.7 0.2 0.2 0.7 42.7 64.3 0.4
C Jordan Hill 18 12 4.5 3.6 0.6 0.3 0.3 0 50.6 71.2 0.7

Position Battles

First guard off the bench

Dunn had an impressive stint in summer league and while that doesn’t necessarily translate to performance in the NBA, it does make one wonder who will be the go-to scorer in the second unit. Neither Muhammed nor Dunn have much of a three-point shot, but they are both gifted scorers. If either of them sees more minutes it’ll likely be only a deep-league concern anyway.

Rise in Value

Karl-Anthony Towns

A mobile big man with soft hands and quick feet, Towns should continue his rise to fantasy elite. You can bank on the minimum 20/10 with the added 2-3 assists. His blocks should stay up around 1.5 and depending on what Thibs has him doing, it could go higher. Hopefully, the Wolves will get to run on offense because Towns in transition or Towns getting position and catching it deep in the block is unstoppable.

Zach LaVine

Zach finished last year much better than he started. He improved his shot from three and he was taking more and better shots everywhere else. The emergence of Wiggins and Towns as the primary scorers has taken the pressure off of Lavine, and his game has improved because of it.

Andrew Wiggins

This will be an interesting year for Wiggins. With Towns’ likely emergence as the team's go to scorer and face of the franchise, Wiggins will need to find his place in the mix. He’s freakishly athletic, but that hasn’t translated to his defense yet. His scoring has increased along with his percentages, but he still lacks a consistent three-ball that will space the floor. Overall, I don’t think Wiggins will make a big jump this year unless his defense improves or he finds a three-point shot. The former being more likely given the coach.

Injury Risks

Ricky Rubio

He’s an injury risk but he’s such a great defender and I think he’s going to thrive with Thibodeau. There’s enough offensive power around him now that his FGA will be low enough that his FG% won’t totally wreck your team. His lack of outside shooting could prove to be a problem if defenses start packing the paint, but his quickness in transition and ability to keep his dribble usually prevent that from happening. When you have a passer this good and a great big with soft hands magical things happen. On the off-chance he improves his outside shot he could be fourth-round value.

Other Player Summaries

Gorgui Dieng Glue Guy

Only recently have we had a good look at Dieng. Before Lavine started moving with the first unit, he helmed the second unit and led that group in poor shot selection and decision making. Watching the games, one could see he was a solid talent with a good head and work ethic, but that wasn’t always apparent in what was essentially a d-league side of young selfish players. At the end of last year, it was obvious how successful Dieng could be in a functioning side with good ball movement and people playing position defense. Dieng is a workhorse that should have a great year with the new coach. He’s the kind of player that unites a team with his play and effort. I don’t think his value increases too much more than what we saw at the end of last year, but that production still had top-50 value. Beyond the blocks and boards, his ability to pass (2 assists per game) and quick hands (1 steal) are what increases his value.

Cole Aldrich Deep League

A newcomer to the Wolves, it’s likely that Aldrich gets enough minutes for fantasy relevance. Pekovic shouldn’t be any competition and Jordan Hill is less of a defensive presence than Aldrich. Aldrich can do a lot with nothing more than 15-20 minutes, so keep an eye out to see which big is first off the bench. It could be based on matchups and in that case Aldrich might be more of a streaming option.


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