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Canis Pulsus - Vol. XVII Results

The final grades of the regular season are in! Did your Wolves pass or fail?

After a long (and surprisingly enjoyable) journey, we’ve made it to the end of the regular season. The Minnesota Timberwolves have made the playoffs, but they’re still anxiously awaiting their report cards. But, they’re here!

Final reports cards are in!

(Note: Canis Pulsus Vol. XVII data was collected prior to the play-in game tip just prior )


Karl-Anthony Towns

Los Angeles Clippers v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

A

‘20-’21 Season Grade: A-

Prior to KAT’s disappearing act in the play-in game, he was as consistent as they came. He saw his grades gradually increase as the season progressed, culminating in his 60-point explosion versus the Spurs a few weeks ago. Most importantly, KAT seems to be in a much better headspace and is finally seeing things go his way in life. Love to see it.

Full voting results:

D’Angelo Russell

Los Angeles Clippers v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

B+

‘20-’21 Season Grade: B-

Conversely, prior to hoisting the Wolves on his back to clinch the play-in game, D’Lo was really struggling to get to the finish line. Not only was he shooting the ball poorly, but his health (physical and mentally) needed work too. That said, when you look back at his season in its entirety, Russell played a crucial role and really shifted the narrative around his game.

Full voting results:

Taurean Prince

Dallas Mavericks v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

B+

‘20-’21 Season Grade: N/A

TP has proven to be an invaluable bench leader for this squad which is something I absolutely did not think I’d be saying at the start of the season. He’s played his way into crucial role who does so many things well. It’s great to see his season grades skyrocket.

Full voting results:

Malik Beasley

San Antonio Spurs v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

B

‘20-’21 Season Grade: B

The Malik Beasley ferris wheel of shooting seems to be on the positive range right now. Much was made about his slow start to the season where he arrived to camp out of shape and seemingly piecing his life back together, but he’s really gotten into a groove now. Kudos to Beas for sticking to it and being a solid contributor.

Full voting results:

Anthony Edwards

LA Clippers v Minnesota Timberwolves - Play-In Tournament Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

A-

‘20-’21 Season Grade: A+

After finishing last season with an A+ grade, Ant continued to defy expectations by finishing with an A- for his sophomore season. He faced adversity in the second half of the season with some injury scares, but he appears to have moved past that. Right on time to help the Wolves steal the national spotlight in the postseason, no less.

Full voting results:

Patrick Beverley

Los Angeles Clippers v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

A-

‘20-’21 Season Grade: N/A

Pat Bev’s consistency all year has been a sight to behold. It’s one thing to play consistent basketball, but it’s another thing to maintain his maniacal obsession with transforming the culture of a team with a relentless fervor. He has certainly been one of the best storylines of this Wolves season.

Full voting results:

Jarred Vanderbilt

Minnesota Timberwolves v Toronto Raptors Photo by Vaughn Ridley/NBAE via Getty Images

A-

‘20-’21 Season Grade: B+

It feels like it’s been a long time since we’ve had a classic Vando game. Though he’s still contributing valuable minutes, his lack of scoring (or catching passes for that matter) has been a bit more magnified now that he isn’t leading games in hustle plays. That said, this has still been a wonderful season for Vando as he’s proving to be one of the most valuable contracts in the entire NBA.

Full voting results:

Josh Okogie

Los Angeles Lakers v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

Incomplete

‘20-’21 Season Grade: B-

JO went from the starting five at the beginning of the season, to just a bench player regulated to mop-up duty when injuries occur. It’s unfortunate because of the positive energy and leadership that he brings off the court, but it’s Josh 4th season and he has yet to develop any semblance of a jumpshot. Believe it or not, he’s shooting the 3-ball at a career high mark... of 29.8%. His future in Minnesota is certainly murky.

Full voting results:

Jake Layman

Philadelphia 76ers v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images

Incomplete

‘20-’21 Season Grade: C

Jake may be transitioning from being a NBA player to a full-time dad. He has hardly seen the court this season and aside from almost having “The Jake Layman Game” in game 82 versus the Chicago Bulls, it’s hard to justify why he should be getting any minutes. Hopefully we can all remember Layman’s time with the Wolves fondly with surprisingly awesome poster dunks.

Full voting results:

Leandro Bolmaro

Chicago Bulls v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

Incomplete

‘20-’21 Season Grade: N/A

Leo Lea had an opportunity early in the season, but unfortunately the lights seemed just a bit too bright for the young Argentinean in his rookie season. He had some intriguing performances for the Iowa Wolves which provides promise of a useful backup wing who can defend and play-make in future seasons.

Full voting results:

Jaden McDaniels

Portland Trail Blazers v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

B+

‘20-’21 Season Grade: A-

After a wonderful summer league where he flexed his offensive versatility, expectations were high for young Big Mac. He got out of the gates a bit slow and struggled with his perimeter shot, but started to round into form, shooting 39.6% from beyond the arc after the all-star break. Much like last season, it’s apparent that he’s an integral piece of the foundation moving forward.

Full voting results:

Naz Reid

Milwaukee Bucks v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

C+

‘20-’21 Season Grade: B+

Once a fan favorite, Naz has had a rough go at it this year. Previously, the undrafted center’s stock was steadily climbing up as he continued to add to his game and reshape his body in the offseason, but it feels as though he’s hit a bit of a ceiling. Naz was tasked to be the primary backup big and though some nights he more than held his own, more often than not he was outmatched by bigger and stronger players. His future on the team seems a bit murky.

Full voting results:

Jaylen Nowell

San Antonio Spurs v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

B+

‘20-’21 Season Grade: B-

Nowell proved that he’s a microwave scorer that gets hotter than melted cheese inside a Hot Pocket. Though the playing time he receives seems to be in constant flux depending on the matchup, Jaylen has become a crucial piece to the Wolves bench unit. It seems fitting that his grades continue to fluctuate in the B range - B is for Buckets.

Full voting results:

Jordan McLaughlin

Chicago Bulls v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

B+

‘20-’21 Season Grade: C

The 26-year-old point guard looked to be on the outside looking in at the end of last season. I worried that JMac’s spot on the team was up for grabs. The front office prioritized re-signing him and we were all left scratching our heads as he struggled mightily in the first half of the season. However, almost at the flip of a switch, he earned Coach Finch’s unwavering trust with remarkably steady play that made fans rubbing eyes, wondering if they were watching the second coming of Tyus Jones. JMac was part of a squadron with Prince, Beasley, and Nowell that formed a beastly unit ala Voltron.

Full voting results:

Nathan Knight

Oklahoma City Thunder v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images

Incomplete

‘20-’21 Season Grade: N/A

It feels as though the Knight King’s time will come. Though he only played just 37 games (267 minutes), he was awfully productive while on the court. The Knight & Moose tandem remains one of the funnier/awesome memories of the season.

Full voting results:

McKinley Wright IV

Golden State Warriors v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images

Incomplete

‘20-’21 Season Grade: N/A

The two-way Minnesota native played the least amount of games this year (5), all in garbage time. Wright did his thing in the G-league and will hopefully experience a Jordan McLaughlin type career arc as he continues to develop next season.

Full voting results:

Coaching staff

Dallas Mavericks v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

A

‘20-’21 Season Grade: A

The coaching staff continues to be one of the best things about this franchise. They earned high praise last season and kept on performing at a high level this year. Finchy’s staff was able to get the Wolves offensive rating humming at 7th best in the league, but more impressively got the defensive rating all the way up to 13th. The result was a top 10 net rating and a 7th seed in the Western Conference. Give him the damn Coach of the Year award already.

Full voting results:

Front office

Detroit News

B+

‘20-’21 Season Grade: B+

There was some vitriol over Gupta’s abstinence from trade season, as he ultimately decided that continuity was more important than trying to upgrade along the margins. Did that pay off? Well, the Wolves were battling for a playoff spot at the time and wouldn’t you know it, they made it to the playoffs! His coolness under pressure was further illustrated in a Reddit AMA that Jon K did recently, shedding some light on ownership’s view of Gupta:

I know they’ve been really impressed with how Gupta has calmed the waters. It was really angsty around here in the last days of Rosas. Gupta has stabilized things. Finch loves him, which will factor into the equation. The Beverley contract was good for both sides. We’ll see, but he’s helped himself in this season.

Full voting results:

Ownership

LA Clippers v Minnesota Timberwolves - Play-In Tournament Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images

B-

‘20-’21 Season Grade: C

From illegal dealings and meddling in team business, to handing out courtside tickets and getting people to take their shoes off at games, it feels like the (soon to be) new owners Marc Lore and A-Rod have really helped usher in a new era of Wolves basketball. Fingers crossed that things continue to move forward this year!

Full voting results:

Will the Timberwolves make the play-in tournament?

From as early as the opening day, Canis Hoopers were confident in the Wolves ability to reach the play-in. By January, we were at 100% “Yes” votes. What a (rightfully) confident group we were!

Full voting results:

Will the Timberwolves make the playoffs?

Yes (97%)

‘20-’21 Future Outlook: Yes (68%)

Almost as confidently, CH felt the playoffs were imminent as well. The early season losing streak only got to 41% of voters to say “No,” but aside from that spell in March, we looked more like Canis-damus!

Full voting results:

With the regular season over, my feelings on the direction of the Timberwolves are...

Denver Nuggets v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

Very optimistic (58.0%)

‘20-’21 Final Vote: Very optimistic (44.8%)

What a rosier picture this season was in comparison to last. We went from a zig zag chart that looked like a seismograph, to this beautiful flatline of optimism. This is how you know the Wolves are back.

Full voting results:

Link to the full results: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1nvKjwqGt4rRE_NGXjv5ds0G7LrvoY95RnJLOsPZiwag/edit?usp=sharing


You thought a 3.21 grade point average was good for our 3rd quarter progress report? Try a final year-end grade of 3.35 which puts them on the Honors List! The Wolves organization should be proud of themselves. It seems that they have finally earned the respect of their CH faithful!