Minnesota Timberwolves: Malik Beasley is the Wolves’ dark horse

Malik Beasley of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
Malik Beasley of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

For all the great “Big Threes” in the NBA, the Minnesota Timberwolves’ trio of Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell, and Anthony Edwards could be the best group flying under the radar.

Of course, one of the keys to the Wolves’ success this season will be the supporting cast. It’s a group led by Malik Beasley, who just might be the dark horse need by the Timberwolves to help get them to the playoffs.

Minnesota Timberwolves: Malik Beasley is the Wolves’ dark horse

With Towns, Russell, and Edwards garnering much of the press and accolades, it’s hard to call Beasley a consolation prize.

He is by no means simply a complementary piece or the fourth option.

Beasley is entering his fifth year in the NBA and his second full season with the Wolves, and he has already established himself as one of the best outside shooters in the league.

In 51 games for the Wolves, he’s averaging 19.9 points a game to go with 4.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists. He’s also shooting a robust 40.6 percent from long distance, which is amongst the league leaders and will alleviate the scoring load off of the Big Three.

Beasley is simply a professional scorer and is excellent in transition and on the catch-and-shoot. He’s become the team’s closer in late-game situations.

Where Beasley can increase his stock and possibly even work his way towards an even larger contract when he hits the free-agent market in a couple of years is by becoming a better overall player, and that starts with being more involved on the offense.

His assist percentage is only 11.6 percent. It’s an indication that if Beasley is not scoring the ball on offense, he’s not exactly doing anything else.

Additionally, Beasley must improve his defensive efficiency. He doesn’t need to be a lockdown defender but needs to improve his one-on-one and team defense and shore up his rebounding so he can lead fast breaks and dish to open shooters. This will increase scoring opportunities for the team as well as increase Beasley’s assist totals. More importantly, it will better his overall defensive impact.

Edwards still has plenty of development to do and Towns is yet to consistently dedicate himself to defense. Russell is a leader and the second max-contract player on the team, previously leading the Brooklyn Nets to a playoff berth.

But if Beasley can improve his overall game, he will give the Wolves identity and a leader, something the team has been lacking since Jimmy Butler was traded. He also gives the Wolves a go-to player down the stretch, someone who is counted on to take and make the shots with the game on the line.

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With defenses focusing on KAT, Beasley will get his fair share of opportunities to score. If he starts knocking down jumpers and scoring at will, the Wolves could sneak into a play-in game.