Player grades from Minnesota Timberwolves preseason loss to Grizzlies

Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves sets a pick for D'Angelo Russell. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves sets a pick for D'Angelo Russell. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves lost to the Memphis Grizzlies for the second time in 48 hours.

86. Final. 123. 211. 104

Much of the roster is different, but the Minnesota Timberwolves have not looked much different as a team over the course of two preseason games than the team that was one of the worst in the league last season.

On Saturday, the Wolves were discombobulated on both ends of the floor and fell behind by double-digits before Jaylen Nowell led a fourth-quarter comeback that made the final score look more respectable.

On Monday, the Wolves defense had basically the same issues, minus a true fourth-quarter comeback.

The Grizzlies put up 36 points in the first quarter alone as the Wolves again struggled to contain Ja Morant and Jonas Valanciunas. Memphis didn’t have any problems getting to where they wanted offensively, and especially in the pick-and-roll game.

The Wolves starting lineup relied almost entirely on D’Angelo Russell to provide offense early in the game. Karl-Anthony Towns and Malik Beasley were ice-cold from the field. Jake Layman and Josh Okogie each attempted only two shots in the game.

Almost as big of a problem as the poor defense was the sloppy turnovers that lead to transition offense for the Grizzlies and plenty of points scored off of Wolves turnovers.

Minnesota’s offense woke up a bit late in the third quarter and scored 10 straight points, cutting the Grizzlies lead from 24 points down to 14. But Memphis stemmed the tide, and the Wolves couldn’t draw much closer in garbage time.

Minnesota Timberwolves Player Grades

KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS. B-. Karl-Anthony Towns had a similar game to his uneven performance in the opener. He was inefficient once again, putting up 14 points (3-12 FG, 2-7 3P, 6-8 FT) but struggled again with his shot. His shot selection was once again just fine, it was simply a matter of the shots going down. Towns was generally solid defensively once again, which is an encouraging sign. He also pitched in nine rebounds and five assists.. Center. Minnesota Timberwolves

Minnesota Timberwolves. D'ANGELO RUSSELL. B. D’Angelo Russell’s defensive woes continued, but he was lights-out as a shooter early in this one. D’Lo finished with 19 points, and while he ultimately shot just 7-of-18 from the field, Russell kept the Wolves in shouting distance early in the game before becoming trigger-happy. He also had three assists and three turnovers.. Guard

Wing. Minnesota Timberwolves. MALIK BEASLEY. D. Malik Beasley had a tough game. In the preseason opener, he had a bad first quarter and a half before coming on strong on both ends of the floor. In this one, however, he had a poor evening from start to finish. Beasley finished with six points on 10 shots, including missing all three of his 3-point attempts. He also had four turnovers and zero assists.

Wing. Minnesota Timberwolves. JOSH OKOGIE. B. Josh Okogie had another quiet game, although he more under control offensively than in the preseason opener. He only attempted two shots but pulled down four rebounds in 19 minutes and was his typical aggressive self on defense.

B+. Jake Layman followed up his strong preseason debut with another solid performance. Like Okogie, he only attempted two shots, but one was a 3-pointer and he made both of them. He also had three rebounds and two steals in 23 minutes. On the downside, he was 1-of-4 from the free throw line. Assuming consistent playing time, this is probably close to on-par with what we can expect from Layman this year, and his contributions will be important to what the Wolves are trying to do.. Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. JAKE LAYMAN

Minnesota Timberwolves. ANTHONY EDWARDS. C-. This was the second consecutive game in which No. 1 overall pick Anthony Edwards started strong and showed a solid balance of filling his role and providing aggression. As the game wore on, however, he became more aggressive and made several mistakes, from turnovers (five in only 26 minutes, compared to just two assists) to shot selection (Edwards was 4-of-14 from the floor and 1-of-7 from deep). Clearly, the Wolves are allowing him to have more freedom when on the court with other second unit players, and not surprisingly, he’s played better as the fourth-wheel on offense than as a primary scorer and creator. Defensively, he was better than in the first game, including an impressive chase-down block in transition.. Wing

Minnesota Timberwolves. RICKY RUBIO. C-. Ricky Rubio had a tough game. In 20 minutes, he had four points (2-5 FG, 0-2 3P), four assists, two steals, two rebounds, and three turnovers. He had a nice steal at mid-court and finished with a breakaway bucket and also finished a solid reverse along the baseline, but struggled shooting jumpers and had a couple of bad turnovers. There were also some uncharacteristic defensive lapses for Rubio, and he was part of a Wolves backcourt that simply had a rough night.. Guard

A-. Jarrett Culver had another solid game, scoring 13 points on 4-of-7 shooting and pitching in four rebounds, an assist, and a steal. He stroked a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer from deep and scored on a nice drive to the basket, going behind the back to his left and hitting a tough floater over De’Anthony Melton. If Culver plays this well when the games count, he’ll earn a permanent spot in the rotation.. Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves. JARRETT CULVER

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson came in late in the third quarter and provided an immediate spark for the Wolves, helping key the run that kept them in shouting distance in the second half. He had pair of impressive steals and two blocks, showing the defensive chops that should earn him a spot on the Timberwolves’ roster. Hollis-Jefferson showed surprising offensive efficiency, too, knocking down all six of his attempts from the field en route to 17 points in just 15 minutes. He played both the 4 and the 5, showcasing the kind of versatility that the Wolves love.. Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. RONDAE HOLLIS-JEFFERSON. A

Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. JUANCHO HERNANGOMEZ. B. Juancho Hernangomez was much better in Game 2, finishing with eight points (3-6 FG, 2-5 3P), five rebounds, and two assists. He continues to look a half-step slow on defense, but at least he showed engagement and efficiency on offense.

Other notable Minnesota Timberwolves performances

Jaylen Nowell didn’t have much of an encore performance, scoring a single point in just nine minutes. Ed Davis only played seven minutes and looked a bit slow trying to move his feet on defense, picking up four fouls and failing to register even a rebound in seven minutes.

Rookie Jaden McDaniels and Jarred Vanderbilt each received some late fourth-quarter run but didn’t do much of note, although their athleticism and length was on full display rebounding the ball and running the floor.

dark. Next. Don't worry about Anthony Edwards just yet

Up next for the Minnesota Timberwolves

The Wolves head south to Dallas to take on the Mavericks in the preseason finale on Thursday night. Then, it all starts for real next Wednesday at Target Center against the Detroit Pistons.