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2020-2021 NBA Preview – Minnesota Timberwolves

#1 Pick Anthony Edwards Starts

Our Minnesota Timberwolves preview 2020 – 2021 finds that this team last made the playoffs in 2017-18 when they went 47-35. That season, the Houston Rockets beat the Wolves four games to one in Round One. Prior to that appearance, it was 14 years ago that this team was in the postseason. In three of the last four seasons, Minnesota has finished last in the Northwest Division. In 2019-2020, the Timberwolves won 19 games and lost 45. Along with ending up last in the division, Minnesota was next-to-last in the Western Conference. Ryan Saunders starts his second season with the Timberwolves as head coach. He’s hoping to improve on their recent finishes.

Minnesota Timberwolves Preview 2020 – 2021 – Stats

The Timberwolves averaged 113.3 PPG (12th), while they allowed opponents 117.5 PPG (28th). Their PF/PA differential was -4.2, making it tough for the Wolves to secure many victories. Minnesota’s shooting success rates included a 44.1 FG% (28th), 33.6 3PT% (28th), and 75.3 FT% (23rd). They did not make the most of their scoring opportunities. Other stats were unimpressive and include 44.8 RPG (14th), 23.8 APG (20th), and 14.7 TO (27th). On the positive side, the Timberwolves averaged 8.7 SPG (4th) and 5.7 BPG (4th).

Opponents shot 47.7 FG% (26th) and 36.3 3PT% (20th). Also, opposing teams averaged 47.3 RPG (29th). Thus, as well as outscoring the Timberwolves, opponents outshot and outrebounded Minnesota. Other teams also posted 24.8 APG, which left the Wolves with a differential deficit of -1.0.

Minnesota Roster

Minnesota brought in some sound vets to come off the bench and support a fine group of starters. This Wolves’ backcourt is exceptionally sound, while the frontcourt features this year’s number one draft pick, Anthony Edwards. Last season over 14 games, PF Juan Hernangomez put up some great numbers. He’s expected to continue that trend this season. Center Karl-Anthony Towns can pretty much do it all.

Minnesota Timberwolves Preview – Backcourt

Point guard Ricky Rubio, formerly of the Timberwolves, returns to Minnesota after spending two seasons with Utah and last season with Phoenix. Rubio, who played his first six NBA seasons with Minnesota, put up solid numbers last year. With the Suns, he averaged 13.0 PPG, 8.8 APG, and 1.4 SPG while playing 31.0 MPG. He’ll be a fine floor general. Shooting guard D’Angelo Russell, who arrived in Minnesota last year, is a 41.2% shooter who knocks down threes at the rate of 34.3% and frees at 87.3%, Last year, he averaged 21,7 PPG, 6.6 APG, 4.6 RPG, and 1.4 SPG. Russell is also very comfortable playing point.

Timberwolves Preview – Frontcourt

Small forward Anthony Edwards joins the Timberwolves as this year’s number one draft pick. Edwards, who played one college season with Georgia, averaged 19.1 PPG and 5.2 RPG. He hit 40.2% of his field goals and 29.4% of his threes. He was a 77% free-throw shooter. Along with being an offensive force, Edwards is a fine defender. With Georgia, he averaged 1.3 SPG.

Juan Hernangomez occupies the power forward spot, while Karl-Anthony Towns plays center. Our Minnesota Timberwolves preview 2020 – 2021 notes that Hernangomez came from Denver and arrived at Minnesota in the middle of last season. Playing 29.4 MPG for the Wolves over 14 games, he averaged 12.9 PPG, 7.3 RPG, and 1.0 SPG. These numbers were explosive for the power forward. Consequently, he earned the starting spot this season.

Amazingly versatile, Towns is a two-way player and a shooter who can drain shots from just about anywhere. Last season, the five-year veteran hit 50.8 % of his field goals, 41.2% of his three-pointers, and 79.6% of his frees. Towns averaged 26.5 PPG, 10.8 RPG, and 1.2 BPG. It was his fifth consecutive double-double season.

Timberwolves Bench

As noted, D’Angelo Russell ably fills in at point guard as does versatile rookie Anthony Edwards. Malik Beasley backs up at shooting guard, while Jarrett Culver covers the two-guard and small forward spots. Like Hernangomez, Beasley came to Minnesota from Denver in the midst of last season. As a starter over 14 games with the Timberwolves, he averaged 20.7 PPG and 5.1 RPG. He’s an exceptionally solid performer. As a rookie last season, Culver, the number six draft pick, averaged 23.9 MPG recording 9.2 PPG and 3.4 RPG. He’ll be a solid backup. Also coming in at small forward is Josh Okogie. In his first two NBA seasons, which he’s played at Minnesota, Okogie averaged 8.1 PPG, 3.6 RPG, and 1.1 SPG.

Jake Layman and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson come in to spell PF Hernangomez. Last year, his first with the Wolves, Layman was good on 45.3% of his shots from the field and 33.3% of his threes. He averaged 9.1 PPG. This will be Hollis-Jefferson’s first season with Minnesota. After playing his first four with Brooklyn, he spent last year with Toronto. Averaging 18.7 MPG with the Raptors, Hollis-Jefferson averaged 7.0 PPG and 4.7 RPG while shooting 47.1%.

Centers Ed Davis and Naz Reid (Day-to-Day) are ready to come off the bench and cover the paint. At center, Davis, a 10-year NBA veteran who’s primarily served as a backup, offers experience, a fine inside shot, and the ability to play the rim. In his initial NBA season last year, Reid was good on 41.2% of his field goals and 33.0% of his threes. He averaged 9.0 PPG and 4.1 RPG.

Minnesota Timberwolves Preview 2020 – 2021 – Coaching

Head coach Ryan Saunders started his NBA coaching career as an assistant with the Washington Wizards. He was with the Wizards from 2009-2014. In 2014, he became as assistant with the Timberwolves. He moved into the top spot in 2019 after management fired head coach Tom Thibodeau on January 6. At that point, Saunders was the interim head coach. In May 2019, Saunders inked a multiyear deal to become the NBA’s youngest head coach.

Our Minnesota Timberwolves preview 2020 – 2021 notes that players love playing for Saunders. He connects with them and many feel he’s more like a father than a coach. Saunders likes to utilize as many players as possible, trying various combinations. He focuses on exploiting the various tools, skills, and talents that his players bring to the game.

Minnesota – Pluses and Minuses

  • Rookie and number-one pick Anthony Edwards arrives
  • Ryan Saunders is a sound player-oriented coach
  • The starting five look balanced and sound
  • Better D is needed
  • How much can you really expect from the new guys?
  • PF/PA differential must be reversed

Minnesota Timberwolves Preview 2020 – 2021 – Final Word

Our Minnesota Timberwolves preview 2020 – 2021 observes that this team has made some sound improvements both last season and in the off-season. The guard spots are exceptionally solid, while the frontcourt shows a lot of potential. The bench players add depth. However, in order to move up in the division, the Timberwolves must increase their point production and improve defensively. We do think that Minnesota will win more games this year than they did last year when they went 19-45. Somewhere around 14 more wins are certainly not out of the question. However, don’t expect this team to breakthrough and be competitive with the Denver Nuggets, Portland Trail Blazers, or Utah Jazz.

Minnesota Timberwolves Projection – 33-39 Fourth-Place, Northwest Division


Paul has been writing about sports betting and sports for more than a decade, offering picks on the NFL, MLB, NHL, and NBA, as well as on college sports and European football. He's written thousands of season and post-season previews, innumerable articles on sports betting strategies, and various books on sports and sports betting.

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