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Wolves start out season with an impressive 9-5 record

Nov 16, 2017

The Minnesota Timberwolves have opened up the season very strong and are making noise in the Western Conference.

The Wolves are leading the Northwest Division and are third in the Western Conference.

A big reason for the Wolves success has been in their third-year center, Karl-Anthony Towns. Towns has had eight games with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds and has 11 total double-doubles. He is averaging 21.5 points and 11.6 rebounds per game.

Another big reason for the Wolves success has been their new additions to the team. The Wolves have only two players from last years’ starting lineup on the team this year. Jeff Teague, point guard, Jimmy Butler, shooting guard, and Taj Gibson, power forward, have helped ignite this team.

“Jimmy Butler has been the best addition to the team because he’s an established superstar and [Butler] brings a new energy to the team, and has played for our coach [Tom Thibodeau] before so already has some chemistry with him,” said Austin Lehman, senior.

The three of them have all averaged 30 minutes or more in the team’s’ first 14 games and they all are averaging more than 10 points per game.

These players have helped bring in experience onto what was a young team. Last year, three of the Wolves five starters were 21 years old or younger at the start of the year. The Wolves also didn’t have anyone on the starting lineup who had playoff experience.

Bringing in Teague, Butler and Gibson helped change all that for the Wolves. Teague and Gibson have both made the playoffs every year since the 2009-2010 season and Butler has made the playoffs every year since the 2011-2012 season.

“I think the leadership they bring, especially Butler, was the ingredient we were missing to be a serious playoff contender,” said Justin Reifsteck, senior. “It’s most noticeable when Butler was out because of a cold, we dropped a couple games we easily should have won, but when he’s healthy and on the court we look dangerous to all teams around the league.”

In the Wolves’ first 10 games, they went 7-3 thanks to a five-game winning streak with an average win margin of 8.6 points. Two of those losses came when Butler was out with an upper respitory infection. Butler averaged 15.1 points in the eight games he played, and is currently averaging 15.3 points per game

With the Timberwolves losing their old starting point guard, Ricky Rubio, who helped in dishing the ball around to the team, they needed someone to step up. Teague has done exactly that and more. Unlike Rubio, Teague is able to spread the ball around the court and can even score, he is averaging 13.9 points and 7.4 assists so far.

The bench has also been a big help. The bench is led by Jamal Crawford, shooting guard, Nemanja Bjelica, power forward, and Gorgui Dieng, center, who have all helped contribute when they are on the floor. Bjelica is currently ranked second in the NBA with a 52.19 percent from three point range and the three of them have averaged 8.9, 7.6 and 6.9 points per game, respectively.

The Wolves most recent game was played last night, Nov. 15, against the San Antonio Spurs where they won 98-86, after losing 12 straight matchups against the Spurs. They will try to extend their winning streak to three games on Nov. 17, against the Dallas Mavericks.

This has been a very unusual sight for Wolves fans. The Wolves haven’t had a winning record since the 2004-2005 season and have missed the playoffs for 14 straight seasons. The Wolves currently have a 9-5 record and will look to continue their early success.

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