Minnesota Timberwolves: Predicting Wolves team leaders for 2020-21

Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Timberwolves, Ricky Rubio
Ricky Rubio is coming back to the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) /

Minnesota Timberwolves: Predicting the Wolves’ assist leader

Ricky Rubio

This is perhaps a tougher call. A few weeks ago, answering this question with any name other than Russell would have been crazy.

But, the prediction here is that Rubio will end up leading the team in assists when it’s all said and done. Rubio will surely be the primary ball-handler when he’s on the floor with Russell moving to the off-guard spot.

That doesn’t mean Russell will give up being a playmaker completely, because he is clearly good at it, but the team might benefit from him playing the two with Rubio at the point.

Our own Ben Beecken explained this right after the draft:

"Russell is an above-average 3-point shooter off the catch, and is far more dynamic than any wing that Rubio played with for any of his previous six seasons in Minnesota. Late-career Kevin Martin was the closest thing, and while he was a great shooter, but he didn’t have anywhere near the in-between game or passing acumen that Russell brings to the table."

Put simply, Russell is a better 3-point shooter than Rubio, and Rubio will have more opportunities to build up assists from dominant scorers like Towns and Russell.

The Wolves will surely test out a backcourt of Rubio and Russell and if that combo works, it’s hard to think that anyone else will lead the team in assists.

Rubio has a career average of 7.8 assists per game and has never averaged below five assists in a season. Also, don’t discount the amount of offensive talent on this team, as well as the pace they’ll be playing at.

Rubio will have plenty of scorers around him, and he averaged 8.8 assists per game last year with Phoenix. He should average north of eight assists per game this year.