There is a lot to be said about how the Minnesota Timberwolves have carefully constructed their roster this season. While the Timberwolves front office tried their best to construct a cohesive roster last season, the team depleted itself by shipping five players to the Utah Jazz to acquire All-Star center Rudy Gobert. After that trade, the Timberwolves were extremely limited in their options. Unfortunately, those limits showed as many of the veterans added to the team were not extended for another season.
And that was the right choice.
But the Timberwolves front office was not idle this offseason. In fact, the team was rather strategic in extending both center Naz Reid and All-Star shooting guard Anthony Edwards. The Timberwolves also added a strong defender in forward Troy Brown Jr. But perhaps the steal of the offseason activity is veteran guard Shake Milton.
Shake, rattle, and Wolves
There is a lot to love about Shake Milton, especially in the versatility and production that he brings to a Timberwolves roster that appears to be an ideal setup for the young man. After all, he played for four years on the Philadelphia 76ers, appearing in 254 games over a five-year NBA career. Over that period, he started 45 games, oftentimes as a proxy starter for an injured teammate.
But all the while, he was building strong NBA experience, learning how to compete in multiple positions, to augment strong scoring shooting guards (James Harden) while learning how to complement premier NBA centers (Joel Embiid). It all led to his testing the waters of his first NBA Free Agent Market value this offseason.
And the Minnesota Timberwolves were more than delighted to meet his price and add the versatile and talented guard to the team. And Milton is just as excited to join the Timberwolves roster:
"“I think I just kind of fit with the theme of the team already, which is just versatility,” Milton continued. “Being able to play on the ball, off the ball, and just kind of affect the game in different areas. I think that’s kind of where I fit in, and I’m excited to get it going.”- Shake Milton as interviewed by Sports Illustrated writer Justin Grasso"
It seems like Shake Milton is going to fit right in.
Why Wolves love what Shake Milton brings to the team
That is exactly what the Timberwolves have been looking for. While the Timberwolves have the ability to impact the scoreboard from the bench in front-court players, the Timberwolves bench in the backcourt was very hit-and-miss last season. Guards like Jaylen Nowell and Jordan McLaughlin regressed dramatically last season. Rookie Wendell Moore Jr. did not develop quickly enough last season.
The Timberwolves found the right 3-and-D wing in Nickeil Alexander-Walker’s surge to prominence on the roster last season. Now, the team hopes to have landed the right offensive spark to rally the Timberwolves bench this season. And Timberwolves Head Coach Chris Finch already seems to be convinced that the team has found the perfect player:
So what does that all mean? Well, the Timberwolves have multiple lineups to throw at opposing teams with five players that boast over seven-foot wingspans.
Milton makes the Timberwolves bench much stronger
In two preseason games so far, Milton averaged 17.5 minutes, 8.0 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 2.0 assists. Now, keep in mind that he is still acclimating himself to a new team, in a new role, with new teammates. The best backcourt scorer for the Timberwolves last season was Jaylen Nowell, who managed to score 10.8 points per game in 19.3 minutes per game.
But Nowell was not a strong defender, and his perimeter shot last season was a pathetic 28.9 percent accurate. In two preseason games, Milton is averaging 66.7 percent from beyond the arc, and he brings an entirely new dimension to the team with his ability to defend.
All in all, you have to be optimistic over a player that creates so much excitement for Coach Finch. Shake Milton has the potential to be a key cog on this Timberwolves roster, and he most certainly has the opportunity to write his own check as to his future role on this team. He is just one of the new faces added this season, but he may be the one player who you will hear great news about over and over.
This could be an incredible season for the Timberwolves and for Shake Milton. Stay tuned.
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