In a competitive professional league like the NBA, excellent role players are essential for teams to give their opponents a run for their money. Also regarded as floor generals, point guards serve as the coach’s extension on the floor. The player is responsible for running the team’s offense and is usually the best dribbler and passer. Hence, having a good point guard is a must for every team.
Since joining the league in 1989, the Minnesota Timberwolves have produced a couple of notable point guards who have topped the NBA with their outstanding skills and statistics. These include the likes of OG Wolves member Doug West, current Cavs star Terrell Brandon, and three-time NBA champ Sam Cassell, among such.
Currently, the team has a few stalwarts to choose from for the position. Who among those choices has what it takes to efficiently lead the team on the floor? Halfway through the tourney, have they proven enough to be the team’s main point guard?
Moreover, can they not only spearhead the team to a string of victories but eventually another playoff appearance? Who are the point guards who can increase the Timberwolves NBA odds 2023?
Based on the team’s current roster, the Minnesota Timberwolves have D’Lo Russell as the team’s main PG, Jordan McLaughlin as backup, and veterans Austin Rivers and Bryn Forbes as additional covers.
In spite of statistically producing lesser than in the previous season, D’Lo Russell still leads the team’s set of floor generals, at least while McLaughlin is out. After appearing in 36 games this season, the Ohio State alumni averages 16.8 points per game, along with 3.2 rebounds, 6.5 assists, and 1.1 steals. He also posts an impressive 45/34/83 shooting split.
The 6-foot-4 guard has been a good offensive player but usually defends poorly. Hence, he currently stands with a -1.7 differential. He has been an efficient shooter and passer for Minnesota, now leading the team in assists with 6.5 per game, but produces minimally on the defensive departments.
However, as a point guard, stats tell us that he is one of the team’s best choices for the position.
Although he is currently sidelined by a calf injury, JMac has made wonders every time he step foot on the court. Before his injury, the 6-footer guard only appeared in 18 games for Minnesota but still leads the PGs with a 4.8 differential. Playing in limited minutes, JMac averages 4.1 points, 1.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 0.8 steals.
Multiple times this season, the reserve PG tallied double-digit assists without any turnovers, making him the first player in Minnesota’s history to do such a feat. In addition, the Wolves statistically perform better whenever JMac is on the floor, outscoring their opponents by 61 points.
“He’s one of those guys that just digs the ball out of nothing and makes these plays when you need him to. He’s one of our best multiple-effort guys,” Chris Finch, Minnesota’s current head coach, said about JMac in a post-game interview.
A decade-long NBA veteran, the former Duke baller has always delivered whenever Minnesota needed him the most. Although his numbers have gone up and down several times throughout his career, Rivers’ maturity and experience are what set him apart from the rest of the team’s floor generals.
Currently, the 6-foot-4 PG averages 5.5 points through 29 games. He also generates 1.7 rebounds. 1.5 assists, and 0.6 steals per game with a -3.1 differential. A 45/40/86 shooter, Rivers have been average in term of offense but makes up for it by being an outstanding defender.
“I thought Austin’s defense was outstanding,” Finch complimented Rivers after a win. This season, Rivers tallies a laudable 117.7 defensive rating.
Although he usually fills the shooting guard’s spot, based on his outputs, he can also be just as efficient when he is the floor general.
Timberwolves guard Austin Rivers delivered some pointed words regarding the state of the Houston Rockets' rebuild. But was he right?https://t.co/Ip2plYSwzu
— Chron (@chron) January 9, 2023
Since joining the team in 2022, Forbes has been a good role player for the Wolves. Though his renowned three-point shooting has gone downhill this season, dropping to a 25% success rate from 41% last season, his ability to orchestrate crafty plays whenever he steps foot on the court has been an asset for Minnesota.
However, like Rivers, the 6-foot-2 Michigan State alumni also play both the SG and PG. The only difference is that unlike the former, Forbes’ defense struggled even before joining Minnesota. Hence, apart from regaining his offensive efficiency, upgrading his passing and overall defense has to be his objective for the rest of the season.
Under 10.6 minutes in 21 games, Forbes averages 3.2 points, 0.6 rebounds, and 0.6 assists with a -2.2 differential. Say he desires to become the team’s main floor general, he really has to up these numbers and get back on track, at least offensively.
REPORT: Bryn Forbes is signing with the Timberwolves, via The Athletic. pic.twitter.com/PD5iG4ealV
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) July 2, 2022
IT TAKES A TEAM
In the end, the Minneapolis-based squad’s future will not solely depend on a particular player or position — it takes a team.
Every player on the roster has to cope with where the team currently stands and drive toward where they want the squad to finish. Having a dependable player is good, but what more if everybody on the team is reliable, right?
Although the season is already half-done, it is still possible for the team to climb up the standings and match or even surpass their record in the previous season. The key? it takes a team.
Minnesota’s point guards have their own sets of strengths and weaknesses. With D’Lo’s future with the team now uncertain, JMac still sidelined, and both Rivers and Forbes moving from SG to PG every now and then, there is no exact answer on whom should the Wolves have as a floor general. Sure, they can bank on Russell in the meantime. However, when can they rely on him?
Hence, a long-term solution to this would be Minnesota looking into seeking those who are available to fill the spot and are willing to incorporate hard work to deliver whenever the team needs their services. After all, hard work is what makes one a great player.
Now on a three-game winning streak, the Minnesota Timberwolves will attempt to extend their wins to four as they visit the Houston Rockets on Sunday, January 8, at the Toyota Center.
Credits on Featured Image: Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons