Minnesota Timberwolves: What will Jarrett Culver’s role be in his second season?

What will Jarrett Culver’s role be in his second season with the Minnesota Timberwolves?

After a rookie season that started off shaky and gradually got better, the Minnesota Timberwolves are hoping that Jarrett Culver will improve in a role that will enhance his abilities.

Even though Culver struggled a lot offensively during the season, he was mostly solid on the defensive end of the floor. But despite his success on defense, he still didn’t live up to expectations that the team had for him.

Minnesota Timberwolves: What will Jarrett Culver’s role be in his second season?

As a top-10 pick in last year’s draft, the team had high hopes for him, and the fact that Minnesota traded up in the draft to select him supports this.

His defensive success didn’t go unnoticed, however, as he did impress in that category. From USA Today’s Ben Pfeifer:

One area where Culver’s projection was semi-accurate was defensively, where he had a solid season for a rookie on the wing. Player Impact Plus-Minus has Culver as a slight negative (-0.3) and this is accurate if underselling his defensive ability a bit. Only six rookies who recorded over 900 minutes had a higher DPIPM than Culver.

Even though these stats don’t jump off the page, they still show that he is was largely a reliable role player on defense. With that said, however, it raises the question as to whether or not he can blossom into a new role in the Wolves rotation, or should he be moved elsewhere.

I believe that he can still be valuable to the team going forward but there is still a possibility that he gets moved.

Our own Ben Beecken took a look at a potential trade with Orlando for the injured Al-Farouq Aminu. Even though Ben thinks that it is worth it for the Wolves to consider, he doesn’t ignore the downsides of this trade scenario:

His upside is certainly higher than what Aminu will bring to the table in his age-30 and age-31 seasons, and unless the Wolves are adopting a “45 wins or bust” mentality for next year, giving up on Culver for a hobbled and aging Aminu probably isn’t the proper long-term play.

Even though Culver’s ceiling might not be quite as high as we thought it was going to be at the beginning of last season, his defensive floor and remaining upside on both sides of the court are enough to at least give him a few more months to attempt to gel with Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell, and others.

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While it wouldn’t be a shock if Culver was moved prior to next year’s trade deadline, the expectation here is that the Wolves hang onto Culver and see what he can do in his sophomore year as a professional.