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In Thibs We Trust? Tom Thibodeau was hired in April of 2016 to become the head coach and president of basketball operations for the Timberwolves. Prior to his arrival, the team had not had a winning record since the days of Kevin Garnett. All newude. My favorite commercial of all time. Anyways, defense has been an issue for this team and Thibs is known as a defensive coach. During his five-year coaching stint with the Chicago Bulls, the team was ranked 1st, 1st, 5th, 2nd, and 11th in defensive efficiency. So, of course in Thibs’ first year, the defense got worse. This dynamic reminds me of Brian Billick, a head coach in the National Football League. Billick was known as an offensive guru and got his head coaching job on this premise. “Our team can’t score, so let’s hire a coach that can fix that,” said the owner of the team….probably. Anyways, Billick tried to sprinkle his offensive magic on the team, but you know what? He realized that he is indeed not a magician and that there are things called players. Coaches can put players in the best positions to succeed but, at the end of the day, players make the coach. Billick was smart enough to realize that the strength of the team was on defense, so he placated to that strength and eventually won a Super Bowl as a result. Will Thibs be as flexible? He was out of coaching for a year and travelled the basketball landscape taking notes so….Read on to find out what I think.

2016 record: 31-51

Key acquisitions:

Key losses:

Outlook:

There’s no doubt that this team will improve upon the 31 wins they put up last season. The question is how much of a leap can they take? I do think the defense will be improved. Thibs will pound his concepts and try to tap into the potential that Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns possess on that side of the ball. What’s really going to help are the acquisitions of Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson. They know the system and provide veteran leadership from the player level. Sometimes, things are more easily digested when it comes from a peer. Now, Thibs looks to be embracing a more offensive mindset, as he went out and acquired, not only Butler, but Jeff Teague and Jamal Crawford. Teague is excellent in the PnR and has a J that defenses have to respect, unlike Ricky Rubio. Crawford is well….a microwave in the truest sense of the word. This team has the potential to be one of the upper echelon teams, but as well all know….potential don’t mean shit, especially in a stacked Western Conference.

PG – As I mentioned above, Teague shoots well from the field and runs the PnR well. A career 35% shooter from three-land, he’s going to provide spacing for the other options on the floor. He’ll grab some boards and pilfer one a game, but it’s the assists that you’ve come looking for. While Thibs-coached teams do not usually operate at a high-tempo, what makes this one of the ideal situations in fantasy is the consistency and volume of minutes. His rotations are fairly predictable and he usually gives his guys a shit ton of minutes. It also helps that there are a plethora of weapons that defenses have to account for. Tyus Jones will be the backup. He’s a very skilled player and many think he has the potential to be a starter at some point. 20 years old! He shot 35% from three-land last season and could be a steal and assist monster if given minutes. As long as Teague is healthy, significant minutes are going to be hard to come by.

SGAndrew Wiggins. Only 21 years old. Uber-athletic. Can score with the best of them. He just doesn’t do enough outside of that. With his athleticism, he should be grabbing a ton more boards and racking up crazy steals and blocks. He’s also a ball-stopper, so the assists will probably remain low. I’m low on him, but acknowledge that he has the potential to ram it in my grill. There’s that potential word again, though. Jamal Crawford

Yaaassss! He’s 37 years old, but he can still do his thing. Thibs said he’s going to give him minutes in the 20s. Hooolllaaaa! If you need points and literally nothing else, Crawford is going to be your guy.

SFJimmy Butler is the alpha dog? wolf? He’s the guy, the leader of this squad. And he’s Thibs’ dude. He literally does it all. 36% from three-land, 86% from the charity stripe, 1.2 threes, 6.2 rebounds, 5.5 assist, 1.9 steals, and 23.9 points. Only 0.4 blocks, though. Yo, Jimmy. C’mon man. As high a floor with upside that you’ll find in fantasy. Nemanja Bjelica and Shabazz Muhammad are “Break glass in case of emergency.” I would be interested in seeing Crawford and Muhammad on the floor together, though. Would the polarity of the universe shift due to having two black holes on the court together?

PFGorgui Dieng ain’t sexy but he’s both a valuable real-life and fantasy player. He does the dirty work for Thibs, but also shoots a high percentage from both the field and charity stripe, will score 10 points, grab seven boards, dish a couple assists, and pilfer and block around one per game. Taj Gibson isn’t a threat to Dieng. He’s there to give him a breather and mentor some of the young guys. He’s also Thibs’ security blanket.

CKarl-Anthony Towns. Only 21 years old, hasn’t missed a game in his two-year career, plays 37 mpg, scores 25 ppg, 54% from the field, 36% from three-land, 83% from the charity stripe, 12 boards, 2.7 assists, and 1.3 blocks. The scrub only steals 0.7 a game. I initially had him at #4 overall, but moved him up to #2. Justin Patton and Cole Aldrich are “If you’ve broken this glass, you’re fucked.” Patton, the 16th pick in the draft, has dynasty value and potential…there’s that word again, but he’s recovering from back surgery in July. Aldrich is tall.

  1. Lasandro says:
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    Oh come now, you can’t sell Cole THAT short haha. Dude has skills and can produce in limited mins. Real crafty around the rim. On the rare occasion DJ would sit for LAC, dude would put in work.

    Whatever. We’re all here to see KAT play the 5! And I do hope our boy Gorgui gets good burn as a starter. I’d still Prinsloo take Capela over him. Maybe even gortat and Vuc. Ok, perhaps not gortat.

    • Lasandro says:
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      @Son: I like fun!

      Re: Gorgui, I just fear that Thibbs will go small and run KAT at the 5 and who knows who at the 4.

      I agree with youoving KAT up to #2. Having said that, if we get 75 games outta KD, surely he’d warrant being selected above everyone, right? I’m drafting for a roto L and have to really consider GPs. That second round tier of guards between Wall, Dame, Jimmy is fkn hard to figure out for my purposes. Same case Porzi vs Myles: love the Latvian, but the latter has proven to play more games so far.

      • Son

        Son says:
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        @Lasandro: Butler to the 4, Wiggins to the 3, Crawford to the 2, and Teague at point? Hmmm….I think he stays traditional more often than not.

        Yeah, I initially had KD at 2. The Top 4 were interchangeable for me. The C eligibility is huge, though. The GPs is definitely a factor as well. I don’t think you can wrong with any of those guards. I’m a Myles guy, but PGod is right behind

  2. Slawek says:
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    Do you think Rubio is not a key loss?:-)

    • Son

      Son says:
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      @Slawek: @Slawek: We shall see. It’s not like Teague is a scrub and he basically negates the weakness that Rubio presented

      • Slawek says:
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        @Son: I’m not talking about the Rubio-Teague discussion 🙂 I just don’t see Rubio’s name on the “key losses” list which looks like a ovesright assuming that guys like Jordan Hill are there.

        • Son

          Son says:
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          @Slawek: I’m interested in reading your thoughts on Teague/Rubio.

          As for Rubio not being a “key loss,” complete oversight. Thought I wrote him down. Must’ve erased by accident. Anyways, thanks for the heads up

  3. Kostas

    Kostas says:
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    I spat out my coffee on the “Aldrich is tall” sentence.Well played sir…

    • Son

      Son says:
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      @Kostas: Ha! Thanks

  4. TheBeardedOne says:
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    Am I the only one worried about Gorgui? The Wolves will prolly play wid Teague Crawford Wiggins Butler KAT more I think. I humbly think he will hover around in the low twenties at most.

    • Son

      Son says:
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      @TheBeardedOne: That was my initial thought as well, but the more I looked into it, I became less worried. That lineip may get some run for a few minutes, but I think Thibs values rebounding and defense too much to make it a staple

    • Mondo Gecko says:
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      @TheBeardedOne: I think we’re going to see Crawford in a sixth man role. Come off the bench and score while our starters rest up. He’s 37 years old and they’re going to be cautious with his minutes. I’m more worried about Gibson stealing Dieng’s floor time than that lineup.

      • Son

        Son says:
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        Agreed

      • TheBeardedOne says:
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        @Mondo Gecko: Not worried about taj at all. He will back up both the 4 and the 5 but he cant stretch the floor like gorgui and Kat. Defender cannot clogged the lane hence the 1 2 and 3 can penetrate easier for the wolves.

        Crawford will be there sixth man for sure. I see him playing around 24 mins a game. He will finished the game most of the time.

  5. Jay says:
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    What happened to JB Gilpin?

    • Son

      Son says:
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      He retired for reasons only he can say.

  6. Jake says:
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    Top 10 sleepers according to Yahoo rankings? (For Son and Slim)

    • Son

      Son says:
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      @Jake: Kyle Kuzma, Jarrett Allen, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Lauri Markkanen, Bam Adebayo, DeAndre Bembry, Dragan Bender, Tyler Ulis, Jason Smith, and Kelly Oubre. Some of those guys are starting, while most of the others could carve out a nice little role.

      • Son

        Son says:
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        @Son: I also like Alex Len, Donovan Mitchell, Thon Maker, Larry Nance, Jaylen Brown, John Collins, Dewayne Dedmon, Kris Dunn, Taurean Prince, and Josh Richardson….The cutoff for the Yahoo 150 begins after these guys.

        • Jake says:
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          @Son: These are all very late round players. Any early/middle round players that look like absolute steals based on yahoo rankings?

          • Son

            Son says:
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            @Jake: James Johnson, Jamal Murray, RHJ, Avery, Dedmon

  7. Robert says:
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    keeping KAT, KLove, THJ, Schroder, 12 team auction 8 cat roto league, who are my targets? Love all your team analysis! Keep up the good work

    • Son

      Son says:
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      Appreciate it! All Denver players and Lonzo!

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