Minnesota Timberwolves: First-half player grades for the Wolves

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 12: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 12: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Timberwolves, Karl-Anthony Towns
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – JANUARY 4: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The first half of the season is officially in the books for the Minnesota Timberwolves, and that means that it’s time to issue grades for each member of the regular rotation.

The Minnesota Timberwolves had an up-and-down first half of the season, and it’s fair to say that a 21-22 record through 43 games is a disappointment. (Yes, we’re a couple of games past the halfway mark, but don’t worry about that. All of the following still stands.)

The individual performances have been all over the board, and it’s time to assign a grade to each of the Wolves’ players that are regularly part of the rotation.

We’ll take a look at the top 11 minutes-getters so far this season, which means that players who have since departed the team such as Jimmy Butler (who ranks No. 12 in minutes) and James Nunnally won’t be graded, as well as little-used players like Jerryd Bayless, C.J. Williams, Luol Deng, Jared Terrell, and Keita Bates-Diop.

This list will start with the player with the 11th-most minutes, then 10th, and so on. The top minutes-getters will be ranked last.

Without further ado, let’s get underway with No. 11, old friend Anthony Tolliver.

Anthony Tolliver

  • Has appeared in 28 games and is averaging 15 minutes per contest
  • Averaging 4.5 points and 2.0 rebounds per game
  • Shooting 38.1 percent on 3-point attempts (87.5 percent of his shot attempts have been threes)

Tolliver signed with the Wolves over the summer for his second stint in Minnesota and was expected to take over the Nemanja Bjelica role from the past couple of years, which is to play stretch-four off the bench and shoot threes.

He shot a crazy 43.6 percent on 3-point attempts last year in Detroit, so it was fair to assume that he’d receive ample playing time with the Wolves.

That was true early on, as Tolliver averaged 19.1 minutes per game in the 14 games prior to the arrival of Robert Covington and Dario Saric from Philadelphia. Once Saric was acquired, Tolliver was the odd-man-out. He only appeared in garbage time over the next month, filled in when Taj Gibson missed the loss in Phoenix, and returned to playing garbage time minutes.

Since the recent injuries to Covington and Derrick Rose, however, Tolliver has been playing some minutes at small forward and has contributed positively to the Wolves’ recent stretch of solid play. Last week, I clamored for more minutes for Tolliver, and we’ll see what happens when Rose returns this weekend.

All things considered, Tolliver has played the requested role perfectly when called upon. This might change if he’s asked to play small forward in some tough matchups, but thus far this season, Tolliver gets an ‘A-‘.

Grade: A-