Finding role players who contribute to winning is essential in today’s NBA, and that search is precisely what the Minnesota Timberwolves spent most of this season trying to accomplish.
To say the Minnesota Timberwolves experimented with lineups this season would be an understatement, as 24 different players entered a game for the Wolves in 2019-20.
A prominent reason for this was the massive roster overhaul at the deadline. Still, it also speaks to the complicated nature of constructing productive lineups that match the organization’s ideal style of play.
Despite their ingenuity and devotion to trying new lineups, their net rating of -4 on the season shows that they fell well short of the desired results. On top of that, only three players (who played 15 games or more) ended up with a positive net rating.
A silver lining of this bleak season is that the overall lack of team success and a multitude of injuries allowed for less established role players to earn more significant roles and opportunities.
The expectations and situations for these three players vastly differed coming into the season.
McLaughlin joined the Timberwolves via two-way contract after the Brooklyn Nets released him who signed him after he went undrafted.
Reid initially joined the Timberwolves on a two-way contract after he surprisingly went undrafted. However, after impressing in Las Vegas Summer League, the undrafted rookie was rewarded with a four-year, partially-guaranteed contract.
Layman was an appealing addition in free agency with the expectation to provide some energy and versatility on the wing. Unfortunately, his season was derailed after an early-season toe injury.
Due to a combination of their roles, unfortunate injuries, and roster construction, all three of these players saw inconsistent minutes despite their productive minutes. Going forward, McLaughlin, Reid, and Layman should all have substantial roles in the Timberwolves’ rotation.
Let’s dig a bit deeper on each player.