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, D'Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – FEBRUARY 12: D’Angelo Russell #0 high fives Malik Beasley #5 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

The second issue that the Wolves are facing is the overall lack of games that both Hernangomez and Beasley have played for the Wolves, both generally and alongside Towns. If the season were to end today, Minnesota’s front office has just 14 games of film and data on both players in Wolves uniforms.

On the other hand, if the season were to pick up in a few weeks, perhaps the duo would have more time to play alongside Towns than they would have gotten under normal circumstances. This layoff is buying time to allow Towns to heal, and the new acquisitions might just get the chance to take the court with the Wolves’ star big man, depending on how the balance of the regular season plays out.

That said, the Wolves were no doubt counting on the final 18 games of the season to evaluate their roster, and especially Beasley and Hernangomez. There remains a chance that the Wolves will be flying nearly-blind as they weigh the pros and cons of multi-year deals to the pair of former Nuggets.

At this point, it’s fair to expect the Wolves to allow Hernangomez to hit restricted free agency, allowing the market to set his value. Because Beasley has been so impressive in his 14 games as a Timberwolves starter, don’t be surprised if Minnesota tries to negotiate a multi-year deal before allowing him to hit the open market.

There are plenty of other teams looking for a dynamic 2-guard that would pony up for Beasley, and perhaps the Wolves can pitch Beasley on the security of a long-term contract before exploring free agency.

If the Wolves go into the 2020-21 campaign with a backcourt of Russell and Beasley under contract for multiple years, the offensive potential of this Wolves team will be, quite literally, unlimited. The defense, on the other hand, will leave much to be desired.

An offense keyed by Russell, Beasley, Towns and a stretch-4 such as Hernangomez can survive a fifth, more defensive-focused member such as Josh Okogie. But that would also mean that the lineup would only have one clearly above-average defender, with a pair of poor defensive players in the backcourt and an inconsistent (at best) performer in Towns at center.

Defensive coordinator and associate head coach David Vanterpool will need to pull a rabbit out of his hat in getting Russell, Beasley and Towns to lead the defensively and not simply try and outscore opponents by scores of 139-134, as they did against the New Orleans Pelicans in their most recent win.

Next. Why the early end to NCAA basketball affects the Wolves. dark

It will be a fascinating offseason, although plenty of question marks remain. The number of games played in the current NBA season is the biggest variable, and the Wolves will almost certainly have to make a decision based on abbreviated results and a brand-new timeline.