4 Funky Lineups I Want to See During Timberwolves Preseason

Timberwolves basketball is upon us! While the games won’t technically matter until the regular season opener on December 23rd, we can still learn from the lineups and strategies that the coaching staff plays during the three preseason games. Here are four lineups that I want to see them experiment with during these exhibition games.

 

Anthony Edwards, Malik Beasley, Jake Layman, Juancho Hernangomez, Karl-Anthony Towns

 

It is fun to imagine the potential of Timberwolves #1 overall pick Anthony Edwards. He played with such a poor team at Georgia last season, and still was able to score nearly 20 points per game. He spent a lot of time with the ball in his hands and was asked to create offense for himself and others even though his teammates were not threats to score. He is likely too young and raw to be handed the reigns of the Timberwolves offense during the regular season, but during preseason games the coaching staff should give him the ball and let him cook. Edwards has never had a great shooter next to him. Now watch him handle the ball while on the court with elite shooters in Towns and Beasley, and capable shooters Layman and Hernangomez. In this lineup he should have clear a clear lane to rock the rim with a dunk or kick out to open shooters when he beats his man off the dribble. We don’t know yet how his decision making has matured or if he will be a capable shooter off the dribble, but the preseason will be the perfect opportunity to allow him to showcase these skills with a lineup that can help him maximize his talent.

Ashton Hagans, Jaylen Nowell, Anthony Edwards, Jaden McDaniels, Naz Reid

 

The Wolves head into the 20–21 season as one of the youngest teams in the league. With so much optimism for the future, it would be exciting to see that bright future on display together. The team’s five youngest players on the court at the same time is actually fairly likely at some point during the preseason. It would be fun to watch Hagans hound opposing guards on the defensive end, and see what Nowell, Edwards, McDaniels, and Reid can do together on offense. Watching Jaden McDaniels specifically will be very exciting for Wolves fans who did not see him in college and need an intro to his game. He should have the freedom to show off his smooth offensive skills and elite physical tools on defense. If this lineup is playing, that likely means it is nearing the end of a preseason game and the benches are emptied by both coaches. That would make Edwards the most talented and NBA-ready of any player on the court. Watching him take over and dominate lesser players could be a glimpse of his future in the league.

Jarrett Culver, D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, Juancho Hernangomez, Karl-Anthony Towns

 

In this lineup Culver is acting as the point guard on offense but would guard forwards on the defensive end. This would be great to see in the preseason as a tryout for potential use down the line. While Culver is a poor shooter, he does have some shifty ball handling and playmaking ability. It would be fun to see him have the freedom to run the offense in the preseason with excellent shooters flanking him. While Russell and Beasley fly around off the ball to get open behind the arc and Hernangomez waits in the corner, Culver and Towns could execute a deadly pick and pop at the top of the key. This would either spring Culver for an open charge to the rim or he can hit one of his shooters with his passing ability. In an ideal world the coaching staff would likely want Culver, the 6th overall pick last season, to be included in the starting lineup. If Culver has improved going into his second season, we could see this lineup much more often. We will hopefully get our first glimpse of the future this preseason.

Ricky Rubio, D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, Anthony Edwards, Josh Okogie

 

The most fun yet least likely to be seen is this ultra-small lineup that takes a page out of the Houston Rockets small-ball playbook. This group would play at a rapid pace and should be able to score at-will. The issues come on the defensive end with no player taller than 6’5″ so it is unlikely they would stop anybody or grab many rebounds when shots are missed. However if they DO get a defensive stop and rebound, their transition scoring will be like a bolt of lightning. In half court offense Josh Okogie will act as the center and he can set screens and cut to the rim from all over the court while the other players space the floor and find driving lanes. Offensively the “Turbo Charged” group would be incredible viewing for Wolves fans. Overall this lineup is very unlikely to see the court together during the regular season but in the unpredictable COVID season we are about to see, anything is possible. Maybe several big men on the roster are exposed to COVID and need to miss games forcing the coaching staff’s hand. They may just lean into an ultra-small lineup to see how it goes, and should at least test it out this preseason just in case.

 

-Jerry W.