Minnesota Timberwolves: 5 things to be thankful for this Christmas

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 28: Josh Okogie #20 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 28: Josh Okogie #20 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Timberwolves, Josh Okogie
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – OCTOBER 31: Ricky Rubio #3 of the Utah Jazz drives to the basket against Josh Okogie #20 of the Minnesota Timberwolves.(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

2. Josh Okogie

The Timberwolves drafted Josh Okogie with the 20th pick of the first round back in June, and at the time, it looked like he might get minutes as a primary backup wing behind Jimmy Butler and Andrew Wiggins.

But then Rose was re-signed and the Wolves also signed James Nunnally to the roster and it looked as though Okogie was bumped out of the rotation. Indeed, Okogie didn’t see the floor in the Wolves’ first two games of the season.

Then, Butler sat out the third game of the year and Okogie was named a starter. That was followed by some combination of injuries to Wiggins, Rose, and Jeff Teague, as well as the periodic game that Butler chose not to play. Okogie appeared in 14 straight games from Oct. 20 to Nov. 16, starting in half of them.

But then he fell out of the rotation as the the team regained relative health and became deeper with the additions of Robert Covington and Dario Saric. He only appeared in two of the next eight games, both in garbage time.

Recently, however, Okogie has forced his way into the regular rotation, meaning that Tom Thibodeau has had to extend his rotation to 10 players. It’s theoretically a great problem to have, although the mixed-up lineups have provided somewhat of a challenge to the players who have had to adjust to the new combinations.

That said, Okogie has proven to already be an excellent on-ball defender, and the sky really does appear to be the limit when it comes to his defensive potential. If there was any skepticism related to his defensive skills, look no further than the final possession of the Wolves’ win in OKC on Sunday.


The offensive potential is there, too, and while there are absolutely still too many erratic and ill-advised plays, Okogie’s athletic ability is awesome and he clearly has playmaking skills and instincts to boot.

I’ve been talking about the similarities between Okogie and Butler as prospects since draft night, and there’s nothing about the first 25 appearances of Okogie’s career to convince me otherwise. Okogie is absolutely a rotation player in this league, and he has the upside to be a true star.