Minnesota Timberwolves: With Derrick Rose injured, who can step up?

SACRAMENTO, CA - DECEMBER 12: Gorgui Dieng #5, Josh Okogie #20 and Tyus Jones #1 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
SACRAMENTO, CA - DECEMBER 12: Gorgui Dieng #5, Josh Okogie #20 and Tyus Jones #1 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves are coming off an embarrassing 123-120 overtime loss to the tanking Atlanta Hawks. The Wolves are now left waiting, yet again, as the 13th seed only .5 games back from their unfortunately comfy spot as the 14th seed.

If the Minnesota Timberwolves can’t get it together, you could see their season spiral out of control fairly soon.

The Wolves are 7-8 in December and  have now lost to two tanking teams in the Phoenix Suns and Atlanta Hawks, but yet beat solid teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets.

Read here to get more detail on the Hawks’ loss by our own, Ben Beecken.

Karl-Anthony Towns relayed his frustration that he shares with the rest of the Wolves’ fandom via Joe Ziemer of Twin Cities:

"“After trailing by as many as 22, Minnesota entered halftime down 71-59. The Hawks may have fallen off their torrid first-quarter pace slightly but still finished the half shooting 61.4 percent from the floor. They finished the game shooting 47 percent, a testament to the wake-up call Minnesota received at halftime.“We didn’t play with no edge,” Towns said. “We came in at halftime and realized we were getting our (butt) kicked. We came out in the second half and played with the edge we should have played for all 48. We put ourselves in that position. We dug ourselves out of a tremendous hole. We just didn’t close it out.”"

KAT illustrating the Wolves’ struggle to get out of the deep holes they have dug for themselves prefaces my main point of this piece.

The Minnesota Timberwolves and their fan-base were unknowingly bashing their now-best player for the past year, with Derrick Rose quietly became a newfound All-Star in the Twin Cities.

And with Rose arguably becoming the Wolves best player that is becoming steadily plagued by ankle injuries, who will step up?

Will it be KAT, who the Wolves decided to pay the big bucks in order to tell Jimmy Butler to piss off? Or will it be Andrew Wiggins, who in a single game can look like the best player on the court but also do things like forget his jersey.


Maybe it’ll be the new bright-stars in Robert Covington or Dario Saric? Or the solid facilitator Jeff Teague when he comes back from injury? I think not.

The unlikely hero from these ankle injuries from Rose and the injuries that have kept Teague at bay for a week, will have to be two players: Tyus Jones and Josh Okogie.

Jones and Okogie seem to flourish on the court together on the defensive end, and it may just be their time to shine as starters in a new rotation.

My projected starting lineup next game:

  • PG, Tyus Jones
  • SG, Josh Okogie
  • SF, Andrew Wiggins
  • SF, Robert Covington
  • C, Karl-Anthony Towns

Albeit, this lineup is just for now as the injured Rose and Teague slowly get better, but the fast pace of the court and the defensive prowess of this backcourt will energize this team to hopefully pull out these late-game wins the Wolves can’t seem to finish.

Next. 2 reasons why Derrick Rose is an All-Star. dark

Jones has really proved his worth over the past week, averaging 8.7 PPG, 5.0 AST, 2.0 STL, and shooting splits of 58.8/60.0. And while that’s a definite small sample size, during that span, Rose was hampered with his ankle – although still playing through it – and Jeff Teague was out.

As for Okogie, he just flat out needs minutes. The Hawks proved last night that rookies can make huge plays, even if it’s in the waning minutes of a game (see Huerter and Young sink 3’s in bottom three minutes).

I expect Jones and Okogie to get some big minutes against the Miami Heat tomorrow night and you should hope for that too as the Wolves NEED to pull out a win before the new year.