Welcome to the second addition of this weekly piece on the Minnesota Timberwolves going over which players are rising, and which ones are falling. This piece debuted last week after a promising 2-1 start to the season but things aren’t as hot this time around. The Wolves won just one of the three games this past week and the two losses were... rough.
With that said, there were still some encouraging performances from players but there are certainly some players falling. Let’s get into it!
Stock Up #1: Karl-Anthony Towns
Season stats: 34.5 MPG, 24.8 PTS, 4.2 AST, 9.2 REB, 65.6 TS%, 50 3P%, 118 oRTG, 102 dRTG
This was a strange week for Towns, but an encouraging one when looking at the big picture. His stats will always be elite so for me it’s about what he looks like while putting up the stats. To begin the week the Wolves faced the Bucks and Towns was on a mission to win and avoid talking to the refs. He did both of those things excellently.
The reason this week was still odd was because of the most recent game versus the Magic. Towns was good, probably the best player on the court like usual, but a nagging injury and not taking over the game in time played a role in the loss. All in all this was an encouraging week for the Wolves best player.
Stock Up #2: Naz Reid
Season stats: 14.7 MPG, 8.0 PTS, 0.5 AST, 2.8 REB, 56.4 TS%, 27.8 3P%, 105 oRTG, 99 dRTG
Naz found himself, to my dismay, on the bad list of this segment last week. His first three games were pretty awful but he’s bounced back in a good way this last week. Naz has found a legitimate rhythm on offense as soon as he gets in the game which is something almost no other Wolves player can say.
it's Naz Reid's world and we're all just living in it. pic.twitter.com/Qn9Gb2lnCQ— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) November 2, 2021
With the way this offense is playing right now, getting a productive Naz Reid will be huge for the Wolves. His defense against guys like Jokic is nonexistent but that’s no surprise. This past week was excellent for Naz after one of the slowest starts on the team.
Speaking of slow starts, we’re already moving on to the “stock down” list. There are few players that impressed aside from Towns and Naz recently.
Stock Down #1: D’Angelo Russell
Season stats: 28.0 MPG, 14.8 PTS, 4.5 AST, 3.8 REB, 45.5 TS%, 28.9 3P%, 90 oRTG, 105 dRTG
Congratulations to Russell on being the first player to appear two times on the down list so far. The first week of the season for him was undeniably bad (aside from a few redeeming clutch shots), but things only got worse this past week. The first game out this past week against Milwaukee was actually very encouraging, but he couldn’t have finished the week in a worse way.
Russell fell immediately back into his groove of having no rhythm against Denver and then it was much worse versus the Magic. He shot a combined 3/11 from three over the last two games and was forced to leave early with a sprained ankle. A bad week only got worse as it was confirmed he will miss at least one game due to a sprained right ankle injury.
Stock Down #2: Taurean Prince
Season stats: 14.3 MPG, 3.3 PTS, 0.7 AST, 1.3 REB, 37.7 TS%, 16.7 3P%, 75 oRTG, 107 dRTG
The Wolves are still waiting for any semblance of Taurean Prince to arrive this season. The role player that was advertised as a “swiss army knife” before the season would be better compared as a spoon without a handle. We know what he’s supposed to be, but we’re getting about 20% of the production that was hoped for from Prince.
His shot isn’t falling and his minutes are fluctuating every game because he isn’t playing consistently good basketball on either side. Nothing is really going right for Prince so far and he is the exact type of guy the Wolves need when he’s playing up to his potential. If Finch decided to slim down the rotation, Prince could be an early casualty in terms of playing time.
He’s also on my bad side for telling a bit of a fib this week. The Wolves, in fact, were stopped.
Once we get going won’t be no stoppin’— TP (@taureanprince) November 1, 2021
Hold: Jarred Vanderbilt
Season stats: 18.7 MPG, 5.3 PTS, 0.8 AST, 6.3 REB, 61.6 TS%, 0.00 3P%, 126 oRTG, 98 dRTG
I wanted to put Vando in the rising list but his last two games just haven’t been impressive. With that said, we got the Vanderbilt game in Milwaukee to start the week and he was excellent. Defensive chaotic energy and crashing the boards on every missed shot is exactly what the Wolves need. Vando can bring it in a big way.
He didn’t make the list because there needs to be more consistency. He can’t pick up early fouls and remove himself from a game versus Jokic. That just can’t happen, and it did. Vando also started all three games which was an interesting development to watch going forward. Can he consistently look like the guy we saw in Milwaukee? The Wolves need him to be.
Jarred Vanderbilt rebounded 19.9% of opponent misses when on the floor last year. That ranked 100th percentile. This season he has rebounded 23.1%.— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) October 29, 2021
He also rebounded 10.1% of his team's misses when on last year. That ranked 98th percentile. This season he has rebounded 10.8%. pic.twitter.com/JxD0boiSv2
Minnesota Market Watch
Every week I go over the main players for who rose, who fell, and who was neutral. After that I rank every player on the roster without paragraphs explaining each decision. Here is where everyone stands after this last week.
- UP (3): Towns, Reid, Beverley
- Down (7): Russell, Prince, McDaniels, Beasley, McLaughlin, Nowell, Layman
- HOLD (5): Vanderbilt, Edwards, Okogie, Bolmaro, Knight