2. Nickeil Alexander-Walker
Timberwolves fans found out on Tuesday that Jaden McDaniels would be officially ruled out for the season opener with a left calf strain. With a hole in Minnesota’s starting lineup, Head Coach Chris Finch opted to slide Nickeil Alexander-Walker in with the starters at the three.
It ended up being the same lineup that Finch rolled out for Games 1, 3, 4, and 5 against Denver in the playoffs last April when McDaniels was also out due to injury. But unlike in the playoffs, Alexander-Walker did not bring the contributions fans were hoping for.
NAW finished the game against the Raptors with two points on 1-for-5 shooting and three fouls. He failed to connect on any of his three-point attempts. Alexander-Walker made up for a dud of an offensive performance by locking in on defense, but it was still a subpar outing for him overall.
Of course, NAW will not typically be operating in this capacity. Assuming Jaden McDaniels can get back on the floor, Alexander-Walker will play most of his minutes with the bench unit where his responsibilities may look a tad different.
The Timberwolves do need need him to score 15 points every night, but some higher efficiency would make NAW that much more valuable.