Minnesota Timberwolves: 3 Ways to Improve Their Offense Next Season

Karl-Anthony Towns
Alysha Tsuji - USA Today Sports

Picture yourself in an office. Any old office, one that sells a product like paper for instance. At this hypothetical office, workers hold different job titles and positions like the regional manager, assistant (to the) regional manager, and the like.

These defined roles help the work get done.

Like the original office concept we dreamed up, NBA teams need defined hierarchies to reach their full potential. Players have to know what their roles are and how they can contribute to overall team success. Otherwise, there may be a group-wide identity crisis that will hurt the team’s outlook.

The Minnesota Timberwolves have all the signs of a team on the brink of falling apart if you believe every rumor on the internet. Here, we’re going to zoom in on what happens on the hardwood confines of the Target Center and 28 other arenas.

Last season, the Wolves broke their 14-year playoff drought and took a game off of the 65-win Houston Rockets. This season, Minnesota will attempt to keep their spot in the playoffs regardless of the moves other Western Conference teams made.

Despite ranking highly on offense (more on that momentarily), there are several big changes the Wolves can make to ensure the offense is as potent as possible.

In the past, Coach Thibodeau’s teams have always relied on their defense to carry them to the playoffs.

Don’t tell the Timberwolves that.

The Wolves ranked 27th league-wide in defensive rating at 111.1 (points allowed per 100 possessions). In the first season of the Thibodeau’s Timberwolves era, the 2016-17 season, the team ranked 27th as well but with an even worse 112.0 defensive rating.

During Thibodeau’s Chicago tenure, none of his teams ever finished with a defensive rating above  104.3. For context, the 6.8 point gap between the 2017-18 Wolves and Thibodeau’s worst Bulls team is as big as the gap between the no. 1 and the no. 19-ranked teams this past season.

Offensively, however, the Timberwolves were elite. Their offensive rating of 113.4 ranked fourth in the league last season.

Night in and night out, the Wolves impacted the game on the offensive glass, ranking seventh in total offensive boards (10.3 per game) and fourth in offensive rebounding percentage (24.4 percent). Karl-Anthony Towns was especially adept at creating second-chance opportunities for himself and teammates.

Another strength of the Timberwolves offense was protecting the ball. The team ranked second league-wide in lowest turnovers per game (12.5) and first in lowest turnover percentage (11.4). Point guards Jeff Teague and Tyus Jones control the pace of the game and limit giveaways.

The Wolves finished in the top five in both free throws attempted (24.1, fifth in NBA) and free throws made (19.4, third in NBA).

Despite these offensive pluses, the Wolves need to improve and become more efficient. Here’s how they can do that.

Next Up: Method 3