It was said in the off season by Jimmy Butler that the Wolves needed him to win. It was a drama filled situation that I, like many Timberwolves fans, just wanted to see some sort of resolution. Then the trade came on November 10 to send Butler off to Philadelphia, along with Justin Patton, in exchange for Robert Covington, Dario Saric, Jerrod Bayless, and a 2nd round pick. This trade at the time was viewed to most Wolves fans as an embrace of the lottery and just getting help on defense. Now the Wolves are 12 games removed from the trade and are sitting at a 9-3 record and looking at positive plus minus for the first time all season. In the month of October with only 8 games played, the Wolves were -2.5, as opposed to November where they ended the month at +0.9 with 14 games played. Now that we are in December, the Wolves are +6.7 and have seen an increase in field goal percentage and 3 point percentage well. Interestingly enough, the Wolves 3 point percentage has increased, while the number of 3 point shots taken have decreased. Robert Covington has really found his stride this season as well. In his 11 games played for the Timberwolves, he is averaging a career high in points (14.6), steals (2.7), defensive rebounding (5.6) and total rebounding (6.2). He is also seeing a surge in his field goal percentage as well as his 3 point percentage and he is playing the most minutes of his career as head coach Tom Thiodeau loves to give his starters a lot of minutes. Dario Saric coming over has made a big impact on the Wolves bench as he has embraced his role as an off the bench player, just like Derrick Rose. When Saric and Covington are on the court, the ball movement changes as well. There are extra passes to find open players, guys are moving and cutting better and the floor spacing allows the Wolves to get easier baskets and move in transition without slowing the ball down. These two players additions and the subtraction of a huge distraction in Jimmy Butler has led to a very successful run by the Wolves during the early part of the season. The Wolves now sit on the outside looking in of the playoff picture, With 4 of the next 6 games on the road, and 5 of 6 of the opponents with better records than the Wolves, the team needs to be looking for a positive road trip. It took a 9-3 streak to fix the damage done by the Jimmy Butler saga, now the team needs continued success to get themselves into the serious playoff team talk.

 

-Nathan Bush

Wide Men Can’t Jump