It is time to throw away the American inferiority complex with its place in the sport, where many blindly claim that technique should come above all in choosing and developing the best prospects and that the U.S. is not an international power because it cares too much about athleticism.
Far-Fetched Friday: The Minnesota Timberwolves Will be a Top-10 Offensive Team This Season
By: Ryan Stein
As most NBA fans know, the Timberwolves don't really have an extensive history of being serious threats in the Western Conference. Outside of the Kevin Garnett-era and the season with Jimmy Butler, the Wolves have largely been pushovers. While my prediction for Minnesota around this time last year didn't pan out, the team didn't have what they have now: an Anthony Edwards that has shown legitimate number-one scoring option potential. Despite placing in the bottom third of the league as a team in terms of offensive rating, I predict they will enjoy a significant jump into the top 10 of the upcoming season's offensive rankings.
Welcome back to Far-Fetched Friday, where every Friday we give you a bold prediction that we believe will come to fruition. This Friday, we look at a budding city up North.
The Timberwolves quietly feature four players on their roster capable of scoring 20+ points per game for an entire season: Karl-Anthony Towns (24.8 PPG last season), D'Angelo Russell (19 PPG), Anthony Edwards (19.3 PPG), and Malik Beasley (19.6 PPG.) One may ask: if the Timberwolves had so many potent scorers on their roster last season, how were they so low in offensive rating? The answer to that is rather simple: injuries.
Beasley and Russell both missed about half the season, and Towns sat out 22 games. Edwards was lucky enough to play in every game, and it helped him grow his game tremendously. Furthermore, when Towns and Russell re-entered the lineup, the Timberwolves saw an immense improvement overall. Prior to the all-star break, Minnesota's offensive rating was an anemic 105.0, which would rank 28th out of 30 teams. Post All-Star break, the Timberwolves offensive rating jumped up to 113.5, which would put them at the 10th spot for the year. This was without Beasley playing as well, so there is still plenty of room to make another leap in offensive production.
Anthony Edwards' progression as the season continued was remarkable. The first half of his rookie year was admittedly not good at all, but he showed a lot of promise as a 19-year-old 1st overall pick. After the all-star break, Edwards truly ascended into a player that is ready to be a star NOW. His offensive rating jumped from 92 pre-all-star break, all the way up to 108 after the break. That is a massive improvement, and he will surely look to build upon that next season with the team all healthy and hungry for the playoffs.
Add to this some intriguing complementary young players with offensive potential like Jaden McDaniels, Naz Reid, and Jaylen Nowell, and you have a team that is ready to shock NBA fans with a top-10 offensive output this upcoming season.
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