Jarrett Culver is the Minnesota Timberwolves’ star addition of the offseason, but he’s also plenty capable of being the 2019-20 Rookie of the Year.
Jarrett Culver joined the Minnesota Timberwolves this summer as the No. 6 pick in the NBA Draft following a trade with the Phoenix Suns.
Culver comes to Minnesota as an established talent on the back of an incredible college season. As the star for a Texas Tech squad that made the NCAA championship game, Culver was asked to spend time at point guard and absolutely rose to the occasion.
Culver started in all 38 of his appearances during the season, was the focal point of the Big 12 co-champions, and led his squad to the title game. The Red Raiders impressed throughout the season, finishing with a final record of 31-7.
With Culver as their main point of attack, the Red Raiders were an unstoppable force throughout the majority of the 2018-19 season. So, how much of this was due to Culver and what can he bring to the Timberwolves?
Put simply, a man who averaged 32.5 minutes last season with strong production will be more than capable for an immediate step up into an NBA lineup. At 6-foot-5 and 195 pounds, Culver poses a large physical threat to opposing teams and has a physique capable to be featured at either of the guard positions and the small forward spot.
What makes Culver a player capable of being Rookie of the Year is his contributions on the court.
Culver averaged 18.5 points per game last season and his off-season work on the court shows a talent who can improve on this already impressive return. He is also a prolific scorer from the field knocking in 6.7 field goals per game on 14.5 attempts (46.1 percent).
He is also confident with his handle and loves to come inside the arc and dominate opposition with his physical prowess, an often overlooked characteristic for a guard. Dominating college opposition on the glass saw him come away with five defensive rebounds per game.
Culver should thrive on defense, and the Timberwolves will be gaining a huge asset in terms of stopping the opposition. Averaging 1.5 steals and 0.6 blocks per game saw Culver as one of the better defenders in the draft class. Joining a roster with the likes of Robert Covington and Josh Okogie, plus the coaching staff of head coach Ryan Saunders and defensive coordinator David Vanterpool, will only further his likely elite defensive ability.
Opportunity is always a huge key to landing the Rookie of the Year award, and Culver should have that chance with a young Wolves squad that may ultimately rely on him to initiate the offense some in addition to spotting up on the perimeter.
To truly become the Rookie of the Year that he can genuinely be, Culver will need to improve as a distributor. His assist numbers from the 2018-19 season were fairly low at 3.7 per game. This statistic is not a bad return, however to become as good as he can be he will need to improve on this figure.
Working with the players on the roster and the style of play the Timberwolves usually look to benefit from, Culver can easily make the necessary improvements and the jump into the NBA.
How Culver gets on throughout the 2019-20 season is yet to be seen, but he could very well be the Rookie of the Year come next summer.