Minnesota Timberwolves rookie Jarrett Culver has shown out early in the preseason and could be in line for a large role this year.
The starting lineup isn’t set and stone with the fifth starting spot being somewhat of a question entering the final game of the preseason before the Minnesota Timberwolves open the regular season on the road against the Brooklyn Nets on Oct. 23.
The Timberwolves have experimented with running Jake Layman and Treveon Graham as the fifth starter in the preseason. While both seem like good options to start at the four-spot, there’s still one player that generates even more intrigue.
That man was the number six overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, Jarrett Culver. The Wolves liked what they saw in Culver coming out of college as he ultimately helped Texas Tech get all the way to the National Championship game.
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The ideal target for the team was point guard, Darius Garland. However, when the Wolves moved up to the sixth spot, they knew they could get Culver if Garland ended up getting picked by the Cavs. Thus far, Culver has looked the part of a high lottery pick, justifying that it was smart to move up and snag the guard.
Minnesota has experimented with Culver playing point guard in the preseason and it looks like a role where the team should use him in the regular season, especially with the long-term future of that position in question.
Culver is a hard-worker and he looks like he could end up being a cornerstone of the franchise.
In his first preseason game against the Phoenix Suns, Culver recorded 11 points, three rebounds and two steals. He did this on 5-of-8 shooting from the field. Culver did miss his only two 3-point attempts, but he followed that up nicely in the Wolves’ next game against the Golden State Warriors.
In that game his shooting percentage was down, but he still showcased a variety of skills. In that matchup he scored 17 points, while coming down with five rebounds, three assists, a steal, and block. He only shot 6-for-18 from the field, but his range from deep was on fire, going 4-of-8 from downtown.
The Timberwolves took on Maccabi Haifa on Oct. 13 and it ended with a Minnesota victory. In that game, Culver scored 11 points and added four assists. He was 5-of-9 from the field and 1-for-5 from three-point land.
In the last game against the Indiana Pacers, he was efficient once again. He added 15 points, four rebounds, three assists and one steal. He went 7-for-14 from the field and went 0-of-3 from 3.
A common trend for him this preseason has been his ability to score at the rim. While his 3-point shot has been inconsistent, it has been good to see him continue to fire it with confidence.
One thing that is encouraging from the young budding star, is this stat:
Culver’s tendency to avoid less efficient mid-range shots and instead taking shots at the rim or beyond the arc has been an excellent development and a common trend for this team.
Defense is something that he excels at as well as he looks to be a future two-way star.
It’s early and we’re working with a small sample size of preseason, but he’s looked great thus far. Culver could be a player that slides into the starting position as a rookie and hopefully stick there for a long time.