Minnesota Timberwolves: Checking in on the G League’s Iowa Wolves

CEDAR PARK, TX - DECEMBER 7: Jaylen Nowell #4 of the Iowa Wolves shoots between Matt Farrell #4 and Quinndary Weatherspoon #15 of the Austin Spurs. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Chris Covatta/NBAE via Getty Images)
CEDAR PARK, TX - DECEMBER 7: Jaylen Nowell #4 of the Iowa Wolves shoots between Matt Farrell #4 and Quinndary Weatherspoon #15 of the Austin Spurs. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Chris Covatta/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves G League affiliate Iowa Wolves have several former college stars with NBA potential on their roster.

Now that we’ve reached the quarter-mark of the NBA season, it’s time to check in on the G League’s Iowa Wolves to see how the Minnesota Timberwolves‘ other draft picks and two-way players are doing when playing in Des Moines.

Jaylen Nowell

The second-round draft pick is averaging 21.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 2.1 TO per game with shooting percentages of 50.4/39.7/88.9 (field goal, 3-point, and free throw) through nine games.

While he’s struggled in minimal NBA minutes, Jaylen Nowell has been lighting up the G League this season, highlighted by a 28-point, nine-rebound game against the Texas Legends.

After shooting 44 percent from beyond the arc at Washington, the No. 43-overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft has hit nearly 40 percent of his 3-point attempts through nine games in Iowa, while averaging 6.4 attempts from deep per game.

Although his defensive stats are pretty much nonexistent at just 0.6 steals and 0.8 blocks per game, Nowell’s stellar shooting for the Wolves’ affiliate helps explain why the team moved up in the second round to draft him.

Naz Reid

Naz Reid was signed as an undrafted free agent this summer. The big man is averaging 19.8 points, 10.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 2.1 blocks, and 1.8 steals per game. He’s shooting 47 percent from the field while connecting on 36 percent of 3-point attempts.

Despite ranking as the No. 18 recruit coming out of high school, ahead of high NBA draft picks Coby White and Tyler Herro, among others, Reid ended up going undrafted in the 2019 draft.

He quickly signed a two-way contact with the Wolves and immediately impressed during Las Vegas Summer League, earning a guaranteed, multi-year contract. Since then, Naz has averaged a double-double on nearly 20 points per game for Iowa, including 32 points in November against the Texas Legends.

If Reid can continue to improve on defense and shoot the ball well from beyond the arc, he has the potential to develop into a great fit in the frontcourt next to Karl-Anthony Towns.

Jordan McLaughlin

Jordan McLaughlin is averaging 16 points, 5.2 rebounds, 6.6 assists, and 2.0 steals per game with shooting splits of 50.0/35.3/75 in nine games.

Following a strong Summer League performance for Minnesota, McLaughlin earned a two-way contract and has seen a decent amount of minutes with the squad already due to Jeff Teague‘s early absence due to illness and Shabazz Napier‘s injured hamstring.

While he didn’t play the best during his time in the NBA early this year, McLaughlin has shown a steady hand at the point guard position in Iowa so far by putting up a 2.4-to-1 assist to turnover rate and has shot the ball well from the field.

He is undersized at 5-foot-11,170 pounds and isn’t the most athletic point guard, but his ability to run the offense without making mistakes could allow the former USC Trojan to play some quality minutes as a backup point guard during his career.

Kelan Martin

Kelan Martin is averaging 12.0 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.2 steals per game with a triple-slash shooting line of just 38.3/28.6/44.4 in five games.

Although he’s only played 5 games with the G League squad so far, Kelan Martin could stand to improve his shooting numbers down in Iowa in order to try and prove that he can become a 3-point specialist in the NBA.

Martin led Butler University in scoring his senior year with 21.2 points per game and played well during the Summer League for Minnesota. Getting back to his shooting form from the Summer would help his career and the Iowa team a whole lot.

Martin definitely has the potential to serve as a 3-point specialist in the NBA during his career, although his 44.4 percent shooting from the line doesn’t look like the free throw percentage of an elite NBA 3-point shooter.

Martin did have a strong stretch of play with the Wolves a couple of weeks ago, and it will be interesting to see how much run he gets with the big club moving forward.

Jordan Murphy

The former University of Minnesota Golden Gopher is averaging 8.0 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 0.9 assists per game. He’s shooting 49.2/41.2 3PT/43.8 over 10 games.

Jordan Murphy is the only player on this list who has played in all 10 games this season for Iowa. He has continued to show development as 3-point shooter from his college days, which is perhaps the most important thing for him if he wants to stick at the NBA level.

Despite shooting only 23.2 percent from beyond the arc through four seasons with the Gophers, Murphy is currently shooting better than 41 percent on 1.7 3-point attempts per game.

While he’s undersized for his position and already 22 years old, leaving his potential capped as a back-end rotation player for an NBA team, Murphy’s development as a shooter is intriguing and should help him make up for his disadvantage in size.

Next. The key to Andrew Wiggins' breakout season. dark

We’ll continue to keep an eye on the Iowa Wolves and which players might have the best shot at contributing to the Timberwolves at Target Center over the course of the season.