Minnesota Timberwolves: Wolf of the Week, Part One

Anthony Edwards of the Minnesota Timberwolves has had a fantastic first week in the NBA. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Anthony Edwards of the Minnesota Timberwolves has had a fantastic first week in the NBA. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

Following a 2-1 start to the season for the Minnesota Timberwolves, it’s time to crown the first “Wolf of the Week” of the season.

Welcome to our new weekly column, Wolf of the Week, in which we provide a brief summary of the Minnesota Timberwolves‘ past week and highlight one player that shined above the rest.

First, a look at the last week, which started with the season and home opener on Wednesday and finished in Los Angeles on Sunday evening.

Minnesota Timberwolves defeat the Detroit Pistons in the opener

Minnesota Timberwolves 111, Detroit Pistons 101

The Timberwolves opened up their season at home against the Detroit Pistons and trailed pretty much the whole game.

In fact, they didn’t take their first lead until the fourth quarter with 3:38 left, when Karl-Anthony Towns made his first shot of the half, and it was a big one. Towns finished the game with 22 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, and two blocks. Additionally, it has been apparent that Towns has put an emphasis on his defense early in the season.

Another bright spot was rookie Anthony Edwards and second-year guard Jarrett Culver, who each provided a spark off the bench. Edwards finished his debut with 15 points on 5-of-12 shooting to go along with four rebounds and four assists. Culver ended the game with 10 points and 10 rebounds and chipped in two assists.

If this is the wing combination for Timberwolves going forward, it will be interesting to see how they grow alongside Ricky Rubio, who is running point for the second unit.

Another wing that shined bright in this one was Malik Beasley. Like Towns, he was in early foul trouble putting him on the bench in the first quarter. Beasley finished with 23 points, four rebounds, and two assists in 27 minutes.

Ultimately, the Timberwolves finished the game on a 16-4 run and defeated the Pistons by a final score of 111-101.

Minnesota Timberwolves hold on to beat the Utah Jazz

Minnesota Timberwolves 116, Utah Jazz 111

This was a game that the Timberwolves won with their defense. And yes, their defense was anchored by Towns and D’Angelo Russell.

Towns had four blocks and a steal to go along with 16 points, 12 rebounds, and three assists. The Wolves finished with nine total steals with Edwards leading the way with two. The Edwards-Culver duo provided the spark off the bench that the Timberwolves needed, propelling them to a 68-53 lead at half time.

What was really impressive is the duo were a combined 5-of-6 with Edwards at 2-of-3 and Culver a perfect 3-for-3. The Wolves’ play of the game came on defense with four seconds left in the fourth. Up by a score of 114-111, they forced a five-second violation on the Jazz.

Russell then iced the game with two free throws, and the Wolves won by a 116-111 final. It was a great win, previewing how the Timberwolves may match up with some key Northwest Division and Western Conference foes.

Minnesota Timberwolves are blown out by the Los Angeles Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers 127, Minnesota Timberwolves 91

The game film for Wolves-Lakers should be burned. It’s fair to say that literally no one on the Timberwolves played well. Anthony Davis and Towns were both ruled out before the game began, and the absence of Towns absolutely took a toll on the Wolves’ offensive identity.

D’Angelo Russell struggled, finishing with only four points but also committing four fouls and seven turnovers. The Wolves were leaning on him to be efficient, but Russell’s individual plus-minus came in at a shocking -31 in only 21 minutes of playing time.

This seems like a good time to bring up some areas of improvement for the Timberwolves and that area is the 4. The Timberwolves’ primary two power forwards, Jake Layman and Juancho Hernangomez, have been terrible. Granted, it has only been three games, so it’s hard to focus too much on this, but they combined for zero points in the first two games. That just can’t happen.

Additionally, the Wolves saw a familiar face return in the form of Jordan McLaughlin during garbage time so that’s nice. But that’s about it.

Wolf of the Week: Anthony Edwards

There are a couple of Wolves that could be deserving of this role, but Anthony Edwards outshined the rest in his first week in the NBA.

The Timberwolves have looked at the start of all three games, but in the first two games, Edwards provided an offensive spark off the bench. In the games against Detroit and Utah, he shot a combined 54 percent from the field while making all six of his free throw attempts.

The 19-year-old has scored 15, 18, and 15 points in his first three games, but what has been really impressive is his patience in the pick-and-roll game. He reads the defensive and is willing to pull back if the shot isn’t there.

On the flip side, he shot only 6-for-21 in the game against the Lakers, including 1-of-9 from beyond the arc. It looked like he was forcing shots because they were down by at least 20 points basically the whole game. That said, he led the team in scoring against the Lakers in a game where no one else could get it going.

Edwards also shined off the court in his hilarious Wolves+ podcast appearance with Marney Gellner when he talked about how great of a multi-sport athlete he was, and probably still is.

Next. Wolves ranked too low in ESPN League Pass rankings. dark

This kid is special, and all things considered, it was a great first week for the wolf pup.