Timberwolves

Can Culver Turn the Tide This Season?

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When the Minnesota Timberwolves moved up to acquire the draft rights to Jarrett Culver, the move puzzled many.

 

Sure, Culver was a great collegiate player at Texas Tech and helped lead them to the national championship. Still, the first move for the newly hired President Of Basketball Operations, Gersson Rosas, appeared odd.

Rosas hails from Houston; we’ve seen his preferred brand of basketball from the Rockets in years past. This strategy includes lots of three-point attempts and many shots at the rim. The idea behind this approach is to stretch the floor, and once accomplished, it opens up easy driving lanes to the basket.

Stylistically, this concept doesn’t necessarily play to Culver’s strengths. Despite shooting north of 34% in college, it appeared he struggled mightily with the increased distance of the NBA three-point line. He shot 29.9% with a funky-looking jumper in his rookie campaign and finished inconsistently at the rim. Despite the numbers, though, Culver flashed his athletic ability numerous times. (Robin Lopez would begrudgingly concur).

Potential Glimpses

Whether it was throwing down a staggering amount of poster dunks or abruptly jumping passing lanes, he showed glimpses of what made him the 6th overall pick. Minnesota’s offseason moves muddied their perceived belief in him despite his potential.

The Timberwolves had the number one pick in this year’s draft and selected another guard, Anthony Edwards. Enter him along with last year’s midseason trade prizes — D’Angelo Russell and Malik Beasley (who recently re-signed long term) — and there doesn’t appear to be a ton of minutes available. Culver’s versatility should help him play multiple positions. His outstanding play in the preseason finale against the Mavs indicates he can be an essential contributor this season.

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Assuming he comes off the bench with the second unit, it will be fascinating to see which lineup combinations Ryan Saunders utilizes to best complement this team. Culver has significant potential, but will he be able to unlock it in Minnesota?

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About Reid Roelofs

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