Another top-players list has been released in advance of the upcoming NBA season, and Timberwolves’ big man Karl-Anthony Towns ranked in the top-ten.
Late on Thursday, the Washington Post released their interactive list of the top-100 players for the 2016-17 NBA season, put together by Tim Bontemps, Jose Soto and Lazaro Gamio.
Lists like this are always going to be controversial. However, it should be promising to Timberwolves fans to see some of their favorite players appear on this list.
First up, at #98, is two-time dunk champion Zach LaVine.
"Once LaVine stopped being forced into a point guard role by the Timberwolves last season, he looked like a much different player. Like Wiggins, he is an athletic freak that should be a perfect match with new coach Tom Thibodeau, and one who also has the ability to get much better defensively."
Being rated higher than an aged Manu Ginobili and an unproven Ben Simmons may not be much of an accomplishment, although it is nice to see Zach get recognition for more than just highlight reel dunks
Next up, our favorite Spaniard, Ricky Rubio is found at #73.
"Rubio isn’t much of a shooter, and it seems more likely than not he never will be. But here’s what he is: an excellent passer and defender at the point. That’s not a bad place to start, and if Rubio stays in Minnesota instead of being used as trade bait it seems like he’d quickly become a favorite of new coach Tom Thibodeau’s."
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This rating places Rubio only slightly above players like Dennis Schroder (#77) and Tony Parker (#84). On the other hand, he finishes behind Jeff Teague (#65), George Hill (#64) and Goran Dragic (#57).
While Rubio’s points-per-game were below the latter three guards, he had much higher assist, rebound and steal totals. He also had the second highest PER of the above players at 17.6, only slightly behind Teague’s rating of 17.9.
Furthermore, his offensive rating to defensive rating differential of +3 was second to George Hill’s +6. The argument could easily be made that Rubio is a better point guard than those ranked directly above him.
Soaring in at #49 is Maple Jordan himself, Andrew Wiggins.
"No one will benefit more from the presence of Tom Thibodeau in Minnesota than Wiggins. Already armed with all of the tools to become a defensive menace on the perimeter, Thibodeau should be the perfect coach to harness it and unleash it on the rest of the NBA. Wiggins seems like a prime candidate to have a breakout season."
Wiggins’ defensive rating last year, 113, left a lot to be desired. But, as said above, Wiggins has all the potential in the world on the defensive end. Pair this with his post moves and promising shooting and
Wolves might be looking at a top-25 player in years to come.
Last but certainly not least is reigning Rookie of the Year Karl-Anthony Towns, who appears all the way up at #7.
"Towns was fantastic as a rookie, showing why he was such a coveted prospect coming into the draft process. With Tom Thibodeau now in place as coach, Towns is in a position to become one of the faces of the NBA and lead Minnesota to its first playoff appearance in franchise history without Kevin Garnett on the team."
There’s nothing more to say here. The Minnesota Timberwolves starting center is seen as the 7th best player in the league, and that’s significant.
As the national media continues to shine the spotlight on these young Timberwolves, they’ll soon see how hungry they truly are.