Breaking down the Minnesota Timberwolves’ opening night roster and rotation

D'Angelo Russell of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
D'Angelo Russell of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /
2 of 4
Minnesota Timberwolves, Malik Beasley
Malik Beasley of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

Minnesota Timberwolves Opening Night Roster: Wing

Starters: Malik Beasley, Josh Okogie
Reserves: Anthony Edwards, Jarrett Culver, Jaylen Nowell

After years of ineptitude on the wings, the Wolves suddenly have what appears to be solid depth.

Malik Beasley is a candidate to average around 20 points per game while shooting above 40 percent from deep on a high-volume of 3-point attempts. He just signed a big extension and is a shoo-in to be the regular starter at the two-guard spot.

The way that the Wolves operate, there will be times when there are only one of the above-listed “wings” on the court. At other times, there may be three.

There will be something like 10 to 15 minutes in every game with both Russell and Rubio in the game, which creates less of a need to have another true wing on the floor. The Wolves have talked extensively about playing Okogie at the 4, which is one way to keep two of the above group on the court at the same time.

It’s fair to expect Okogie to start at the 3, and if the preseason is any indication, rookie Anthony Edwards will be the first wing off the bench.

Perhaps more than anyone else on the roster, Jarrett Culver’s playing time will be tied directly to his improvement and the strides the Wolves are expecting him to make in Year Two. Edwards’ minutes are probably as close to guaranteed as they could be, given that he was the No. 1 overall pick, meaning that he’s the top wing reserve.

That leaves Culver and Jaylen Nowell to battle it out for what might be the final rotation spot on any given night. It’s unlikely that all five of the players listed here will play on a regular basis, and Culver and Nowell, last year’s draft selections, both had strong preseasons.

They’re different players, of course, with Culver profiling as more of a playmaker and dynamic athlete and defender and Nowell more of a scoring guard with a strong 3-point shot. Which one plays more will be dependent on both matchups and what they do with the playing time that they’re given.

This is as well-rounded and athletic of a group of wings as the Wolves have had in a long time. Still, there are question marks.

Only Beasley has proven to be an above-average 3-point shooter at the NBA level. Nowell looks the part and shot the ball well in the G League, but has to prove it with the big club. Okogie and Culver both shot the ball horribly last year, and Edwards was streaky in college and has a lot to prove with his jumper.

Outside of Beasley, this profiles as a decent group defensively, although it’s another area in which the Wolves will need to see consistency out of the two lottery picks, Culver, and Edwards.

Let’s look at the forward position.