The Minnesota Timberwolves sorely miss Jake Layman

Jake Layman of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Jake Layman of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves have hit a major slump after their hot start, and Jake Layman‘s injury may have been the turning point.

The Minnesota Timberwolves started the season off by winning seven of their first 11 games and had fans dreaming of another playoff appearance after missing the postseason last year.

New small forward Jake Layman was a major contributor during that strong start after he was the only free agent signing to get a multi-year contract from the Wolves this offseason.

Layman was scoring 10.5 points per game with 2.9 rebounds and 0.9 steals in 26.4 minutes per contest while shooting 35.2% from three before going down with a toe injury in Minnesota’s biggest win of the season in Utah.

Since Layman’s toe injury in that win over the Jazz, the Wolves have gone 2-8 including an ongoing six-game losing streak.

Minnesota has suffered some other unfortunate injuries during that stretch, but the loss of Jake Layman has been a common thread through all of these losses.

More from Dunking with Wolves

The former Maryland Terrapin currently leads the Wolves in net rating at +1.7 as Noah Vonleh and Andrew Wiggins are the only other players who have a positive net rating on the year.

Layman also ranks 26th among 77 small forwards in real plus-minus as he has positive numbers in that statistic on both offense and defense.

Layman’s style of play was perfect for the system that Ryan Saunders has introduced in full this season because he is extremely dangerous running the floor in the fast break, he’s one of the better outside shooters on the team, and he has a great instinct for cutting off-the-ball.

Minnesota has sorely missed that skillset while he’s been out, and we haven’t heard any update on his injury status which suggests that the Wolves will have to trudge on without him for a while.

Next. What to expect with the Timberwolves' rotation going forward. dark

In the meantime, players like Keita Bates-Diop and Kelan Martin will have to do their best in filling that role as the Wolves try and turn things around in the coming weeks.

While Layman’s injury isn’t the only reason for Minnesota’s recent struggles, it’s safe to say that this team would be performing better with him on the floor.