Tough roster decisions only getting tougher for Minnesota Timberwolves

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MARCH 6: Malik Beasley #5 of the Minnesota Timberwolves looks on. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MARCH 6: Malik Beasley #5 of the Minnesota Timberwolves looks on. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Timberwolves, Malik Beasley
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – FEBRUARY 12: Malik Beasley #5 of the Minnesota Timberwolves dunks the ball. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

Last offseason, former Wolves guard Tyus Jones saw his qualifying offer pulled and ultimately signed a three-year offer sheet with the Memphis Grizzlies that the Wolves chose not to match. A similar situation could theoretically unfold with both Beasley and Hernangomez in the upcoming offseason.

The wrench in the whole thing is the limited amount of time the Wolves have to observe both players up close and personal. The roughly two months worth of games that the Wolves were expecting to have wouldn’t have been much time as it was. But now, with the NBA on a hiatus of a minimum of 30 days due to the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), nobody knows what is going to happen next.

Everything is on the table. Theoretically, at least based on the current 30-day timeline, the league could try and come back and play the playoffs nearly on schedule and simply forgo the final 18 or so games of the regular season. That seems somewhat unlikely, however, based on reports from a variety of medical experts related to the potential spread of the virus.

The league will probably try and pick up where they left off, rescheduling postponed games and spreading them out throughout May and June, pushing the playoffs to July and potentially into August. Perhaps playoff series will be reduced from best-of-7s to best-of-5s to try and shorten things a bit.

Or maybe, it will be a mix of scenarios, in which the league doesn’t bother with the rest of the regular season, but the playoffs still don’t start until June.

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No matter what happens, it certainly is a giant and completely unexpected curveball that severely hampers the ability of NBA teams to evaluate talent. And for a team in the midst of an on-the-fly rebuild like the Timberwolves with two key restricted free agents, it makes things exceedingly difficult.

So far, in 14 games in a Wolves uniform, Malik Beasley has averaged 20.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in 33.1 minutes per game. All would easily be career-highs over the course of a season. His 3-point shooting percentage of 42.6 would also be a career-best, and his 47.2 percent from the field would be within two-tenths of last year’s career mark with the Nuggets.

He’s looked every bit the part of a third option on a playoff team, one who is dynamic in the open floor and with the ability to get piping hot from beyond the arc at a moment’s notice, singlehandedly swinging the momentum of a game.

Of course, all the typically cautions related to a small sample size exist, as well as some defensive questions that are very real, and even more important for a team whose best two players also struggle on that end of the floor.

Let’s talk about the Wolves’ other acquisition, in light of the Wolves’ quest to find the best fit next to Karl-Anthony Towns.