Timberwolves’ exciting secret weapon was on full display against Miami

Nathan Knight, Minnesota Timberwolves Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Nathan Knight, Minnesota Timberwolves Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports /

With the first preseason game in the books, we learned a good bit about what the Minnesota Timberwolves will look like on the court this season. Karl-Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert, and D’Angelo Russell all sat out against the Miami Heat, which allowed the rest of the roster to get some shine.

While we were treated to an efficient scoring evening from Anthony Edwards with him going 9-of-15 from the floor and racking up 24 points, his strong performance wasn’t the most notable takeaway from the game.

In large part, we know what we’re going to be getting from the Timberwolves’ stars this year, but the players that will be seated further down the bench have some bigger question marks. That’s why it was exciting to see Minnesota show off arguably their biggest secret weapon on Tuesday night: their deep and talented bench.

Minnesota has one of the deepest benches in the NBA

Against the Heat, the Timberwolves’ bench scored over half the team’s total points. They put up 64 of Minnesota’s 121 points, while three players scored in double figures coming off the bench.

This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to those who have followed this team closely. In the 2021-22 season, the Timberwolves had the eighth highest-scoring bench unit in the NBA, ahead of high-powered offenses like the Grizzles and Heat.

There were already some notable offensive threats coming off Minnesota’s bench, but the improvements the front office made over the summer has clearly put them in even better shape in that department.

For example, the Timberwolves’ two leading bench scorers were Taurean Prince and Bryn Forbes. Prince had 19 points and knocked down three shots from beyond the arc, while Forbes scored 15 points on just six shot attempts. Both players will be a major boost for the Wolves’ bench this year.

The Timberwolves will shock teams with their bench scoring

Minnesota also had a few reserve players who got to show off in the starting lineup for a change. Jaylen Nowell, who will likely end up as the team’s sixth man, went for 14 points on 54% shooting. And although Kyle Anderson didn’t score, he did everything else at a high level and wound up with a plus/minus of 14, tied for the highest on the team.

Players like Nowell and Anderson are of starting caliber. It’s not unreasonable to think they could be starters on several playoff teams this year.

With such elite talent coming off the bench, opposing defenses will be in trouble when facing the Timberwolves. Their depth will make it difficult for opponents to take advantage of their starters being off the floor.

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