Wolves convert two-way contract, add extra offense in time for the postseason

Toronto Raptors v Minnesota Timberwolves
Toronto Raptors v Minnesota Timberwolves / Stephen Maturen/GettyImages

Coming off a 16-point performance in last night's win against the Toronto Raptors, the Minnesota Timberwolves have converted two-way center Luka Garza to a standard NBA contract.

Garza only appeared in nine minutes last night. However, he put his keen scoring ability on full display. The former Hawkeye went 7-of-10 from the floor to score his 16 points. The Wolves big man dominated on the interior. He used a wide array of post moves and nimble footwork to record seven field goals in less than 10 minutes of action.

Garza's scoring ability is well-documented. While playing for the Iowa Hawkeyes, he averaged 23.9 points per game as a junior and 24.1 as a senior. As a member of the Hawkeyes, Garza never once shot below 53.0 percent from the floor.

As well as providing an exciting scoring punch, the Minnesota center is a plus-rebounder. Throughout his collegiate career, Garza averaged 7.3 boards per game. Last night, the big man scored four of his 16 points off offensive rebounds.

Although Garza has never played meaningful minutes in his professional career, he makes the most of his limited time on the hardwood. On a per-36-minute basis, Garza is averaging 29.1 points and 8.6 rebounds a game this season.

His per-36 stat line closely resembles his G-League production. In six appearances for the Iowa Wolves, Garza averaged 32.2 points, 11.5 boards, and 3.8 assists all while shooting 64.2 percent from the floor and 42.9 percent from beyond the arc.

Converting Garza's contract into a standard deal allows him to take part in the postseason. With Karl-Anthony Towns nursing a left meniscus injury, it's likely the big man will see the floor.

Since Towns went down with his injury, Garza has participated in seven games. In those seven appearances, he's averaged 7.9 points in only 9.7 minutes per game.

While Minnesota has the best defense in the NBA, the offense is middling. The Wolves rank 18th in points per game and 16th in offensive rating. Infusing Garza into the rotation will surely help keep the second unit afloat and drive a middle-of-the-pack offense.

Naz Reid, who's been the Wolves' bright spot off the bench, has since joined the starting five in the wake of Towns' injury. Without Reid to drive the second unit's scoring, the Wolves have relied upon Nickel Alexander-Walker, Kyle Anderson, and Monte Morris. The common theme amongst the aforementioned three is the lack of interior scoring contributions.

Garza is more than capable of putting up points in bunches and should do well feasting against the opponent's bench units. Losing Reid's second-unit scoring hurt, but it has seemingly been replaced with the full-time addition of Garza.