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Evaluating the Minnesota Timberwolves at the All-Star Break

We examine the Timberwolves going into the All-Star Break, looking at some futures betting lines, injuries and one player to watch in fantasy basketball.

Minnesota Timberwolves guard D’Angelo Russell instructs his team in the fourth quarter against the Charlotte Hornets at Target Center. Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA Trade Deadline and All-Star Weekend have come and gone, so that means we’re in the home stretch of the 2019-20 NBA season. In this serious post-All-Star Break, we’ll go over the outlook for every team in the NBA. Here, we’ll provide a short glimpse at championship odds and playoff chances for each team on DraftKings Sportsbook. Also highlighted are key injuries to note and a fantasy basketball player to watch the rest of the season.

Where do the Minnesota Timberwolves stand at the All-Star Break?

Record: 16-37
Playoff Chances: 0.0%
Championship Odds: +25000
Division Odds: +25000
Conference Championship winner: +15000

This should be viewed as a lost season for the Timberwolves, but the D’Angelo Russell trade made the narrative a little different. While the T-Wolves are on a collusion course for the NBA Draft Lottery — potentially landing a top pick — they now have two core pieces for the future in Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell. Minnesota had been vying for Russell’s services for a while now, trying to land him in the offseason but failing. Now, they’ve got their guy and can move forward.

So far, things haven’t worked out. It’s a small sample size, but the Timberwolves are 0-2 with D’Lo in the lineup. One of those losses was on the road to the Raptors, so scratch that. The other? A home loss to the Hornets. Not so great. Sure, the Wolves need to build, develop and add more pieces around KAT and Russell, but they also should look for some results the rest of the season. Russell has scored 22 and 26 points in his two games in Minny, which is encouraging. But KAT is expected to miss games after the break. The Wolves are gunning for a high pick in the 2020 NBA Draft to add another solid player to the fold.

Prediction: Timberwolves secure top 5 NBA Draft Lottery chances.

Key Injuries for Minnesota Timberwolves

Karl-Anthony Towns, PF/C (wrist) — DTD
Omari Spellman, PF/C (personal) — DTD
Evan Turner, SG/SF (undisclosed) — DTD
Jake Layman, SF (toe) — out indefinitely

As I mentioned above, KAT will miss a few games after the All-Star break. The team has no incentive to roll him out there other than to see who he meshes with D’Lo. The T-Wolves need to lose games to secure better seeding in the lottery. Spellman was acquired from the Warriors in the Russell trade but is not with the team. Chances are Spellman and Turner get waived/bought out and end up somewhere else, potentially on contending teams in need of depth or veteran experience. Layman hasn’t played since November 18 due to a toe injury and there’s no real timetable for his return.

Fantasy basketball spotlight: Malik Beasley

The T-Wolves got Beasley from the Nuggets as part of the four-team trade involving Clint Capela and Robert Covington. Beasley had been buried on the depth chart in Denver and now he’s starting for Minny. In three games for the T-Wolves, Beasley is averaging 22.0 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 32.7 minutes per game. That’s nearly double the amount of minutes he was averaging with the Nuggets. Beasley has shot the ball well from outside at 42.4% on 4.7-11.0 from 3-point range in those games and there’s no indication his minutes and usage won’t stay this way the rest of the season. Beasley should be low-owned in most season-long fantasy formats and is a great add in deeper leagues if he hasn’t been scooped up already.

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