Minnesota Timberwolves: Reviewing the pre-training camp depth chart

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Minnesota Timberwolves, Karl-Anthony Towns, Jake Layman

Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves celebrates with Jake Layman. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

The Minnesota Timberwolves report for training camp next week. Let’s take a look at their current depth chart following the draft and free agency.

The year 2020 has been weird enough. Now, we have the Minnesota Timberwolves starting training camp less than two weeks after the draft and free agency.

Indeed, training camps open on Tuesday, and that means it’s time to get a handle on the Wolves depth chart.

In the past few days, the Wolves have completed three trades, selected three players in the draft, signed a pair of undrafted free agents, and doled out $81 million in free agency. There’s still one open roster spot, but this exercise can help us determine which spot on the depth chart needs some attention.

Minnesota Timberwolves training camp depth chart: Point guard

The Timberwolves have a pair of starting-caliber point guards who should be able to split the vast majority of the 48 minutes that head coach Ryan Saunders is tasked with navigating each night.

In fact, the Wolves have more than $45.6 million tied up in the spot this season between D’Angelo Russell and Ricky Rubio — easily more than at any other position.

Russell, a 2019 All-Star and a max-contract player, is the obvious starter. He only played one game with Karl-Anthony Towns last season and adds an offensive scoring punch to the position that the Wolves haven’t had since Sam Cassell.

Clearly, Russell and Rubio will play together a significant amount. If that wasn’t the case, the Wolves would not have given up their biggest expiring contract in James Johnson to trade back in the draft and get Rubio. Clearly, the Wolves place a high value on Rubio’s ability, so he won’t simply be a backup.

Russell played off the ball frequently and with largely successful results with the Nets en route to a 42-40 record and a playoff berth during the 2018-19 season. There are some similarities between Rubio’s game and Russell’s former Nets teammate, Spencer Dinwiddie, although the Towns-led Wolves offense won’t be identical to the scheme they ran in Brooklyn.

There isn’t a third-strong point guard on the roster at the moment. The next-in-line, de facto initiator of the second unit would probably be Jarrett Culver, who struggled mightily in that role as a rookie.

The Wolves are reportedly discussing a new contract with Jordan McLaughlin, who remains a restricted free agent following the expiration of his two-way contract. McLaughlin proved that he can run an NBA offense last season, and he would surely get a chance to play with some regularity on a Wolves squad that will often play its point guards together.

Also notable: the Wolves signed former Kentucky point guard Ashton Hagans to a two-way deal in the hours following the draft. He’s a big, defensive-minded guard without much offensive punch and the Wolves won’t be relying on him this season.

Or, at least that will be the plan. But plans change. Just ask Jordan McLaughlin.

Starter(s): Russell, Rubio
Key Reserves: None (unless Rubio doesn’t start)
Wild Cards: McLaughlin (will he re-sign?)
Two-Way: Hagans

At this stage, the bet here is that the Timberwolves will fill their final roster spot with a point guard.

But what about the other positions? Are the Wolves in need of further roster balancing?

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