These Timberwolves look a lot like Thibodeau’s Bulls…

SHENZHEN, CHINA - OCTOBER 04: Head coach Tom Thibodeau and Jimmy Butler #23 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Zhong Zhi/Getty Images)
SHENZHEN, CHINA - OCTOBER 04: Head coach Tom Thibodeau and Jimmy Butler #23 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Zhong Zhi/Getty Images) /

In case you hadn’t noticed, the 2017-18 Timberwolves look an awful lot like the (successful) Chicago Bulls teams of earlier this decade, also coached by Tom Thibodeau.

There is no question that the latest rebuild of the Minnesota Timberwolves has been a success thus far. But the new structure of this team sure does look like the Bulls teams that Tom Thibodeau coached during his five year tenure in Chicago. Let’s explore the similarities.

Besides the fact that Thibs has signed and traded for some of his former players, from Jimmy Butler, to Taj Gibson, to Aaron Brooks, they have players have similar skill-sets to the players that he coached in Chicago.

Starting wings consisting of Butler and Andrew Wiggins can be compared to the teams that featured Loul Deng and also Butler: two athletic wings who like to get and run the floor. Both are capable defensive players when they want to lock in on that side of the floor. They are also good shooters but like to do most of their damage around the rim. Deng was never the athletic specimen that Wiggins is, but you can see similarities in their game with their ability to get off pull up shots, footwork in the post, and even their size — although Wiggins is a bit more slight in build.

Of course, do not know how Butler and Wiggins will play alongside each other as of yet, but Deng and Butler had success together in Chicago, and Wiggins’ offensive ability should make things even more interesting.

Jeff Teague was another pickup by Thibs over the summer. Thibodeau likes to have a dynamic point guard who can run an offense but is also able to score. In Chicago, that included Derrick Rose, D. J. Augustin and Nate Robinson. While Teague is not as good as prime Derrick Rose, he’s undoubtedly the second-best point guard that Thibs has had in his coaching career.

Teague is coming off a season during which he averaged 15.3 points and a career-high 7.8 assists per game. Now, surrounded by a host of talent players, he could see his assists numbers jump even more in this offensive system.

Karl-Anthony Towns is probably already the best player Thibs has ever coached, this side of Derrick Rose’s MVP season. Thibodeau likes to have a big man who’s dominate in the post and also can spread the floor with shooting. Recently, that was Pau Gasol. Before that, Carlos Boozer. He also likes to have a defensive big which he had with Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson. Towns is far from Noah’s caliber on defense, but his passing touch on the offensive end is not all too dissimilar. And, of course, Gibson himself is on Thibs’ new team.

Next: The path of Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns

The Wolves are looking to build a winning culture and a defensive identity this upcoming season. They might look similar to those Chicago teams led by Thibodeau, but they should have a real chance at being far more deadly on offense.