After constantly moving from the Iowa Wolves in the G-League to the Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA a couple of times this season, Luka Garza has finally concluded his campaign with the former and now demands a more active role with the latter.
Earlier this season, Garza signed one of the two two-way contracts offered by Minnesota, the other being fellow Iowa standout Matt Ryan. With this, he had to fill in for Minnesota a lot of times this season, usually due to injuries, while also serving in his team in the G-League.
Nevertheless, the towering center did not fail to deliver for any of these teams and showed up whenever they needed him the most. In his final game for Iowa, the 6-foot-10 center dropped a massive 47-point output, backed with eight rebounds and seven assists, while also displaying an impressive 73/50/80 shooting split.
Making the most out of his short stints with Minnesota and Iowa, Luka is among the young guns Minnesota can bank on in the long run. With this being said, should Garza be given a more active role in Minnesota? Can he replicate his G-League dominance in the NBA and boost Minnesota’s playoffs chances? Moreover, does his presence make any change to the Timberwolves’ NBA 2022-23 odds?
More Firepower For Minnesota
Now sitting at the seventh seat in the Western Conference with a 39-38 card, currently in a tight race with the Warriors and the Pelicans, Minnesota’s chances for a back-to-back playoff are still uncertain. This might be due to the string of losses the team suffered from after injuries sidelined their key players one after another.
However, with Garza now having nothing to focus on but Minnesota, Tim Connelly must spearhead taking advantage of the center’s availability and field him in more often in the Timberwolves’ upcoming games.
The former Iowa Hawkeyes star has already proven himself to be a reliable role player throughout the season’s run. In fact, even after only appearing in 26 games for the Minneapolis-based squad this season, Garza tallied an average of 6.8 points per game, along with 2.3 rebounds and 0.7 assists and a stellar 55/37/79 shooting split.
Remember that Garza is still to this day one of the best Iowa Hawkeyes basketball players of all time.
Luka Garza casually just put up 47 points and 15 rebounds for the Iowa Wolves 😳
— Timberwolves Talk (@LetsTalk_Wolves) March 26, 2023
Does Garza Deserve More Time For Minnesota?
While these numbers may seem to be quite underwhelming for his height, it is important to keep in mind that he only had nine minutes in each game to tally all these. With this, it is logical to say that giving him more time on the floor will provide more firepower for Minnesota and most importantly, increase the team’s playoffs chances.
As for Minnesota, they can look into maximizing Garza’s athleticism as they head into matches that will feature more physically challenging squads.
Previously criticized for his lack of footwork and speed, Garza made use of his stints with Iowa and Minnesota to work on these departments and by far, he has been successful in exhibiting developments in these aspects.
This can provide the T-Wolves more opportunities to orchestrate crafty plays and have more opening towards the basket.
In addition, Luka’s height will also require their opponents to be towering or high jumper enough in order to efficiently defend whenever he has the ball. This will be extra challenging for the opposing side since Garza has had a high success rate on his jumpshots throughout his basketball career.
Moreover, the big man’s efficiency on both ends of the court will definitely benefit the squad heading towards the latter end of the season. This will come in handy, especially with the team still suffering from a few in-game inconsistencies, thus requiring more support from the rest of the squad.
With this being said, Garza’s addition will definitely fuel the Timberwolves not only in the upcoming playoffs but eventually in the long run.
A straight-up DOMINANT opening half for Luka Garza:
26 PTS 👊 9 REB 👊 11/15 FG
— NBA G League (@nbagleague) March 26, 2023
What To Work On
For Minnesota to solidify their chances of successfully pulling a back to back playoffs appearance, they must look into working on a few aspects gearing towards facing tougher teams.
One of these will obviously be to stay healthy. Throughout the season’s run, injuries have hurt the team so bad that their main guns have not had much time to share the court and have more familiarity with one another. Just recently, after being sidelined by a right calf injury for almost four months, Karl-Anthony Towns returned to the court and has since been a huge boost to the team.
After missing three consecutive games due to an ankle sprain, Anthony Edwards also successfully got back to the court and has since been delivering the goods for the Wolves as always.
Currently, four Timberwolves are sidelined by injuries and Minnesota could not afford to lose more, especially with the playoffs coming up.
Improving Roster’s Depth
In addition, the squad can also look into maximizing their roster’s defensive arsenal as they currently only have a 113.2 rating on that end.
Having the likes of KAT, Gobert, McLaughlin, Minott, and the fresh off G-League Garza is already a huge luxury for Minnesota, and utilizing all these guns to their full potential to upgrade their defensive prowess is the best thing to do, especially against offense-efficient opponents.
As for their offense, they can also up their subpar 113.2 rating by investing in more high-probability plays and passing the ball more often, especially in tight situations.
With KAT and Edwards leading the pack, this will eventually become manageable for Minnesota.
Say the Timberwolves are able to work on these and catch up with the rest of the league’s arsenals, a playoffs seat can be reserved for them and more importantly, the hunt for their first-ever NBA title will still be on.
Iowa Wolves C Luka Garza talks playing in the G-League, what he’s learned playing up with the Timberwolves and reuniting on the court with former @IowaHoops teammate Jordan Bohannon: @KCCINews @scottreister @SEhrhardtKCCI @JeffDubrofKCCI #IowaWolves #Hawkeyes pic.twitter.com/CURe0OabL7
— Nigel Dyson (@nigeldyson5) March 23, 2023
Switching teams back and forth can definitely be tiring; hence, efficiently delivering for the team can be uncertain.
However, with Garza proving he can provide for whichever team he plays for, it is a good indication of how reliable he is.
Now having the availability to serve Minnesota full-time, fielding him in in the team’s upcoming games would be the best thing to do.
After suffering a close loss to the Suns, the Minnesota Timberwolves will attempt to get back on track as they face the LA Lakers on Friday, March 31, in their home at the Target Center in Minneapolis, MN.