Role II: Feed me the damned ball
The Minnesota Timberwolves have a group of rising stars who are all capable of scoring. From power forward Karl-Anthony Towns, to shooting guard Anthony Edwards, and even to center Rudy Gobert. Right now, the Timberwolves have had to find ways to put points on the scoreboard, and many of those points have indeed come from the hot shooting of D’Angelo Russell.
But that is not sustainable. Give a hot shooter the basketball, and he is just one offensive weapon that opposing teams need to defend. But give a hot NBA point guard the basketball, and suddenly opposing defenses need to defend all five players on the basketball court. And that is why the Minnesota Timberwolves roster, the way it is currently constructed, needs a true point guard and not a shooting guard who can sometimes distribute the basketball like D’Angelo Russell.
It’s a math problem
The difference in impacts is simply a math problem. The mistake that many make is the direct comparison of D’Angelo Russell’s 17.9 PPG, 3.1 RPG, and 6.2 APG to that of new PG Mike Conley Jr.’s 10.7 PPG, 2.5 RPG, and 7.7 APG. That does not represent the true nature of how each player impacts the rest of the roster.
Let’s talk through a scenario to illustrate what I mean. With Russell on the basketball court, opposing defenses know that their defensive assignments are: Anthony Edwards, D’Angelo Russell, and anyone not named Rudy Gobert. With Mike Conley, the opposing defenses must defend everyone on the basketball court.
DLo’s offense was additional. He put points on the scoreboard. Once Conley is familiarized with the Timberwolves roster, his offensive impact will be multiplicational. He will improve everyone on the floor with a factor that makes them all more effective. That only happens with a field general, and that is what the Minnesota Timberwolves have finally added.