Minnesota Timberwolves: 4 things to watch from Wolves young players

Anthony Edwards and Jaylen Nowell of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
Anthony Edwards and Jaylen Nowell of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Timberwolves, Jaylen Nowell
Jaylen Nowell of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

Minnesota Timberwolves to watch: Jaylen Nowell as a playmaker

One of the more unexpected developments from this season has been Nowell turning into a truly viable bench option. He’s been their best scorer as a pick-and-roll ball-handler and operates in such sets on a high volume of his possessions.

Nowell has a good understanding of how to use screens and where to find space for pullup jumpers.

He’s shooting a solid 46.4 percent on his pull-up jumpers (compared to 34.7 percent on catch-and-shoot) and he’s more than comfortable scoring in the midrange.

For as good as Nowell is at getting to his spots and scoring, it would be nice to see him improve as a playmaker in those situations; his assist-to-usage rate is just in the 14th percentile, per Cleaning the Glass.

Still, Nowell has shown flashes though and has developed a little chemistry with Reid as the screener.

It starts with a nice little hand-off from Reid. Somehow, both defenders bite on the fake, and that’s all the space Nowell needs to hit Reid on the roll.

This one is the same as the play before: Reid hands it off and then sets the screen, but this time, Nowell drives and both defenders follow. Nowell has no chance to finish at the rim over two big men, so he throws a nice pass back out to Reid above the break.

It’s not as if Nowell is incapable as a passer, but I’d like to see this more often. He’s such a good scorer that the defense has to respect him and Reid can score both at the rim and from three that he’s a perfect complement to Nowell as a pick and roll or pop partner off the bench.

His assist rate has bumped up since the All-Star break and when he returns from injury, Nowell’s development as a passer will certainly be something to keep an eye on.