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, Josh Okogie
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA – JANUARY 09: Josh Okogie #20 of the Minnesota Timberwolves dribbles the ball against the Portland Trail Blazers. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

Josh Okogie and Jake Layman

The duo of Josh Okogie and Layman make up one of the most athletic pairings possible on the Wolves roster. Neither players provides much creation offensively, which shows in their 101.5 offensive rating in 232 minutes together.

So, why would I think this duo so intriguing? Defense. Their rating on that side of the ball is 96.7, which is impressive. Okogie is a strong defender with good footwork, so it is not surprising that a two-man lineup with him is very stout defensively. Combine that with a solid defender in Layman, and it makes senses.

Interesting stat about the duo…

In their time sharing the floor together, Okogie has assisted Layman a total of three times. Even more interesting, Layman has not assisted Okogie a single time in their 232 minutes.

Why these numbers could continue

It would be impressive to see these defensive numbers continue. To make this possible, the two players would need to be surrounded by more quality defenders, which could make the offense suffer even more.

Offensively, it would not be tough to continue the production, considering the low offensive rating. With the firepower that this team has seen since the trade deadline, it is likely that the offensive rating improves immensely.

Since the trade deadline, the duo has improved offensively, but suffered defensively when sharing the floor. Their offensive rating is 116.7 and their defensive rating is 109.5 while sharing the floor in those seven games. The increase in offensive effectiveness has outweighed the decrease in defensive effectiveness, which is important.

Best players to round out this lineup

Jordan McLaughlin: His peskiness on the defensive side of the ball will help the defense of this duo prosper. Offensively, McLaughlin will be able to find Okogie and Layman cutting to the basket, as well as finding Towns and Beasley for shots from deep.

Malik Beasley: Beasley will provide energy on both sides of the floor. The offense of the Layman and Okogie duo will need some help, Beasley can provide that. He is also a positive defender, which is important in this lineup.

Karl-Anthony Towns: Again, Towns will provide size defensively, as Okogie and Layman are both undersized at their positions in this lineup, so it will be important to have size anchoring the defense. Offensively, Towns can find cutters as well as score the ball efficiently.

If and when the season resumes, it will be interesting to see how these six two-man lineups perform. There has been many encouraging sights from them and it is worth seeing how effective the lineups continue to be.

Next. Should the Wolves re-sign Malik Beasley?. dark

Chalk up the small sample sizes for the Wolves’ new lineups as another thing that will be detrimental about this long layoff as Gersson Rosas and the Wolves’ front office try to navigate an offseason with limited information.