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New faces in the playoffs saga: Minnesota Timberwolves!

Timberwolves Michael Tipton Via Flicker


New Acquisitions Will Lead Minnesota to the Playoffs!

We all saw this coming. In Tom Thibodeau’s first year as head coach with Minnesota, the team didn’t perform well at all. Mostly due to their inability to close out games. The T-Wolves lost 22, yes 22 games when holding a double-digit lead.  With Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins leading the way, the young Wolves finished with a disappointing 31-51 record last season. But this year, the Timberwolves revamped their roster, and are ready to take the next step in the wild west.

Acquisitions by The Timberwolves

Minnesota acquired many talented players this offseason to help this young team closeout games. The Wolves acquired Jimmy Butler via trade with Chicago and signed Taj Gibson, Jeff Teague, and Jamal Crawford in free agency.

Jimmy Butler

Butler is one of Thibs’ favorite players.

“You’re getting a two-way player, a guy that can score multiple ways, can guard multiple positions… makes big shots late, plays the right way, practices hard, tough, and we were excited to get him,” said Wolves coach Thibodeau.

Butler is an extremely clutch player, and should really improve the Wolves’ ability to finish games strong.

Butler is the definition of a workhorse. The former Chicago Bull averaged 37 minutes per game last season, the same amount as his running mates. (Wiggins and Towns) Jimmy averaged 23.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.9 steals per game last season to lead the Bulls to the playoffs. But his defensive prowess is what Thibs is really looking forward to having after the T-Wolves allowed 106.7 points per game last season, Thibodeau’s most as a head coach.

Jeff Teague

After Minnesota traded Ricky Rubio to the Utah Jazz on June 30, the Wolves needed a new point guard. And they would ink one the next day. Teague signed a 3 year, $57 million deal with the Timberwolves in free agency to replace Rubio. Teague, although not as skilled of a passer, will bring more scoring than Rubio did to Minnesota. The former Wake Forest guard averaged 15.3 points and 7.8 assists per game last year with the Indiana Pacers. Look for Thibs to use Teague’s athleticism to the Wolves advantage. And I think he will be a great fit for this new-look team in Minneapolis.

Taj Gibson

The Timberwolves added another ex-Chicago player in Taj Gibson this offseason as well. Taj and the Wolves agreed to a 2 year, $28 million deal this offseason to add more depth to this talented team. Gibson has played in several roles with the Bulls. His ability to adapt will give Thibodeau the option to either start him at the four or bring him off the bench behind Gorgui Dieng. The 26th overall pick of the 2009 draft is your old-style power forward. He’s an extremely active defender, strong rebounder, and has a nice touch on his mid-range jumper, especially from the corners. Gibson’s ability to get the Wolves easy points and tough defense will be crucial in close game situations for Minnesota.

Jamal Crawford

The former sixth-man of the year is back for his seventeenth season in the NBA. But this year he’ll be playing for the Timberwolves. Crawford signed a 2 year, $8.9 million deal with Minnesota on July 8. Appearing in all 82 games for the Los Angeles Clippers last season, Crawford averaged 12.3 points on .41.3 percent shooting from the field and .36.0 percent from three. The 37-year-old will bring instant scoring off the bench for Minnesota. The master of the four-point-play will be an important asset for the Timberwolves late in games, as he’s a great isolation player and tough shot maker. His veteran leadership will also help the Wolves young players mature throughout the year as well.

With all of the acquisitions, I have Minnesota making the playoffs this year. I see them notching then 5-seed in the wild wild west to get the Wolves back in the playoffs for the first time since 2004.

You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram to talk sports at @Austgrad

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