Minnesota Timberwolves: Analyzing 6 two-man lineups

D'Angelo Russell of the Minnesota Timberwolves celebrates with teammates. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
D'Angelo Russell of the Minnesota Timberwolves celebrates with teammates. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Timberwolves, Malik Beasley
MIAMI, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 26: Malik Beasley #5 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Malik Beasley and Karl-Anthony Towns

The two best 3-point shooters on the Wolves, Towns and Malik Beasley were electric in their two games together.

In 50 minutes shared on the floor, the duo combined for 83 points, 37 rebounds, 22 assists and connected on 15 of 20 3-point shots. The offensive rating in these 50 minutes was an absurd 137.7.

The offense was stifling, but the defensive rating of 121.6 is well below the league average. It’s okay to have a lineup that suffers on the defensive end when the offense is fire on all cylinders. That is what is likely with a Towns and Beasley duo on the floor, especially with neither accompanying point guard being a stout defender.

Interesting stat about the duo…

When sharing the floor, Towns and Beasley have an impressive 74.7 percent true shooting percentage, which is the highest true shooting percentage for any duo in the NBA that has played at least 50 minutes together.

Why these numbers could continue

Beasley and Towns both are able to put up gaudy offensive numbers, but they both do it with incredible efficiency.

Beasley can score at all three levels of the floor, which opens up the offense. Since joining the Wolves, he is shooting 67.2 percent at the rim, 50 percent from the mid-range, and 42.6 percent from deep, according to Basketball-Reference.

Towns is deadly from deep, shooting a scorching 41.2 percent on 7.9 attempts per game. His 2-point shooting percentage this season is 58.2 percent, with most of those shots coming at the rim.

With the immense offensive firepower of this duo and the unique ways that they score the ball, a lineup including this pairing has the potential to be one of the best offensive units in the league. Without major improvements, the defense of this lineup will likely never be above league-average, but the heightened offense should outweigh the lackluster defense.

Best players to round out this lineup

D’Angelo Russell: If defense is going to be subpar, might as well throw in another offensive weapon. Russell will find Beasley coming off a screen for a shot and Towns rolling to the basket after a top of the key screen. Plus, Russell can find his own shot with ease, which makes the offensive potential even higher.

Jarrett Culver: He provides some perimeter defense for this unit, as well as cutting potential. His craftiness defensively would create electrifying transition opportunities for the lineup. With four other very capable floor spacers, Culver does not hinder the offensive potential of the unit.

Juan Hernangomez: He is an average defender that is typically in the right place at the right time, but his offensive skills will be a benefit to the others in this lineup.

Since coming to Minnesota, Hernangomez has been a reliable catch and shoot option from deep. He’s shot 42 percent from deep on nearly five attempts per game since arriving in Minnesota. Twenty-eight of his 29 made threes have been assisted, like this catch-and-shoot from Russell.

On to the next one…