Hey, a new thing!
A few times a year, I’ll throw your questions into a post, and try to answer them to the best of my abilities. I’m willing and able to answer any question, but decided to limit it to 10 per post. If you didn’t make it on this mailbag, we’ll answer them on the next episode of Wolves Wired.
To start off our inaugural mailbag, we receive a question from a familiar face:
What is Tyus Jones’ career ceiling?
— Brandon Warne (@Brandon_Warne) December 6, 2017
On a recent episode of Wolves Wired, I referred to Jones as “replaceable”. Then Jeff Teague went down with an injury, and Jones got a chance to start. In that time, he proved that he wasn’t necessarily replaceable.
Now that Teague is healthy, it’s hard to find big minutes for Jones, despite proving himself during his stint as a starter. Due to his low sample size in big minutes, his ceiling is unclear, but the short time we’ve seen from him in a starting role suggests he can hack it with the starters.
His chance will come at some point, whether it’s here or not.
What has been the best pregame meal in the media room so far this year?
— Terry Horstman (@terryhorstman) December 7, 2017
They had short rib rigatoni on Nov. 28 against the John Wall-less Wizards. The game itself wasn’t great, but I went for seconds on the pasta.
@timfaklis Question for the mailbag: Do you think Karl’s (offensive) troubles this year are due to his inability to gain position inside, or the team’s inability to get him the ball inside? It definitely seems like he’s lost confidence out there but we’ve seen it from him before!
— Mike Baltz (@mmmbaltz) December 6, 2017
As Thibodeau said after their win against the Clippers in Los Angeles, KAT is getting touches.
Either way, the offense hasn’t been the issue for Towns this year. His per-game stats have gone down, but that’s because the team has more offensive weapons this year. His percentages and advanced offensive analytics are on-par with seasons past.
Defensively is where the issues lie, but those are ongoing issues that date back to his rookie year. I wrote about it a bit here. Those issues have come and gone all year, but we have seen some of his best games defensively come on the same nights when he’s hitting shots. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.
I think, while in Boston together, he and Doc Rivers developed a performance-enhancing drug to ensure their yelling volume never subsides.
Does it seem like Gorgi is still a fit long-term with Taj's role so solidified?
Who are some minimum salary-type wings that could take the Bazz minutes if signed?
— Matt Privratsky (@MattPrivratsky) December 7, 2017
1. I could see Dieng becoming a trade chip at some point. With the emergence of Bjelica as the backup power forward, Dieng has been relegated to backup center exclusively. His contract isn’t a terribly desirable one, but he’s still a valuable, starting-caliber player that could draw something in. For now, he’s looking better and better in his new role. The Gorgui Dieng of old will be back soon enough.
2. A few come to mind. Sean Kilpatrick, a former Wolf, just got released by the Brooklyn Nets. He had some success in Brooklyn, and could provide some extra scoring off the bench.
Anthony Morrow also remains a free agent. He doesn’t play with the tenacity on the boards that Bazz brings, but is a far superior 3-pointer. Considering the Wolves sitting in the bottom five in 3-point shooting, this could be a nice get.
What boticable@improvements have you seen from Wiggins? Is he or towns struggling more on team defense?
— John Grooms (@jgg512) December 7, 2017
Let’s try that again- what noticeable improvements have you seen from Wiggins? Who between he and towns struggles more with team defense?
— John Grooms (@jgg512) December 7, 2017
I wrote about it at length here, but there’s a shorter answer.
His defense has improved, despite what some stats might indicate. The consistency isn’t completely there, but it’s much stronger than it’s ever been. Even looking at Wednesday’s game against the Clippers, his contesting and closing out perimeter shooters was at a higher effort than I’ve ever seen.
On offense, he’s driving and kicking at a much higher volume. It seems as though his vision has come a long way since last summer, as has his confidence to make the long pass.
How important is Taj Gibson to what the Wolves do?
— Chuck (@Chuck_Chaney) December 8, 2017
With the possible exception of Butler, there hasn’t been a more consistent player on both sides of the ball than Gibson this year. His first-quarter scoring is pivotal to what the team does, and his defense throughout the game helps keep the team in check.
On top of that, he is vocal, and keeps youngsters like Towns and Wiggins accountable when they make mistakes.
Should the Wolves pick up Sean Kilpatrick? His middle name is Redell if that helps.
— 2018 Sexiest Man Alive Hopeful (@TREtanic) December 8, 2017
He wouldn’t be a bad option, though his shooting numbers have never been terribly high. Still, his role in Brooklyn wouldn’t be the same as it would here. He’d be able to play much more off the ball, which could raise those numbers. Though, his catch-and-shoot numbers on NBA.com suggest he might not be the player the Wolves need, even if his role changes.
In your opinion, is the timberwolf the most underappreciated of North America’s apex predators? I feel like it’s (criminally) rare discussed in the same light as the mountain lion and grizzly bear.
— Lucas Seehafer (@loseehafer) December 8, 2017
Thanks for this question, Lucas.
Do you believe min should feed the hot hand or focus on ball movement? Short term vs long turn argument? A combination of both is obv best..
— Mark (@marklandrigan) December 8, 2017
The boring answer: It depends on the situation, and if the team is playing well in conjunction with the hot hand.
If a guy like Jamal Crawford is hot, like he was early in the season against Utah, it’s impossible to take him out of the game. When someone is hitting, the thought should always be to keep them in, if the team is playing well alongside the hot hand.
If they aren’t, Thibodeau would be forced to make an adjustment.
We took a bonus question because Lucas’ was so….good.
The future of these two is likely the same as what we’re seeing right now. Teague is a better basketball player, and Thibodeau has decided to give him the big minutes.
The one change we could see would involve the two of them getting some minutes together, but that would be completely reliant on what the opposing matchups look like at the time.
Otherwise, what you see is likely what you’ll get for the foreseeable future.