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) /
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Minnesota Timberwolves, Karl-Anthony Towns
Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

Minnesota Timberwolves Opening Night Roster: Center

Starter: Karl-Anthony Towns
Reserves: Ed Davis, Naz Reid

Karl-Anthony Towns is one of the best two or three centers in the game, and he’s going to play a ton of minutes. Still, finding the best fit to cover the 13 to 16 minutes per game in which Towns is on the bench is important.

Reid is the Wolves’ attempt at finding a player who can replicate a certain percentage of what Towns does offensively. The undrafted big man out of LSU shot 33.3 percent on 3-point attempts in his lone year of college and a nearly-identical 33 percent on 97 attempts with the Timberwolves last year.

In 16 games with the Iowa Wolves of the G League, however, Reid shot 38.6 percent on 5.2 3-point attempts per game. He rebounded the ball reasonably well, too, and has solid touch around the rim to augment his NBA-caliber length.

Like Towns, Reid struggles defensively and can get lost in the wash in trying to cover the pick-and-roll. But his length and mobility give the Wolves hope that he can become something of an extra-diet version of Towns off the bench, which in turn allows Saunders to run some of the same five-out sets he would run with KAT on the court.

The Wolves actually gave up a second-round pick to land Davis, and they probably see him as more than just a locker room mentor. That said, he was reportedly a favorite of D’Angelo Russell in Brooklyn a couple of years ago and could be valuable in helping Towns improve in the drop pick-and-roll scheme that Davis played in Portland under Wolves defensive coordinator David Vanterpool.

But Davis struggled to stay healthy and looked as though his career was on the downswing last year in Utah, and he didn’t look good in the two preseason games against Memphis, either.

Expect the backup center minutes to come down to matchups, with Reid the all-offense option and Davis the defensive-minded big.

The Wolves still have one roster spot open, which could eventually go to McLaughlin or will perhaps stay vacant in case the front office is able to pull off a two-for-one or three-for-two trade.

Next. Predicting the Wolves' first-half record. dark

But for the time being, this roster appears to be much deeper and more flexible than the squad that the Wolves broke camp with just last season. Of course, in the words of Gersson Rosas, “we’re not done.”