Minnesota Timberwolves: Injuries continue to linger

Much like last year, the Minnesota Timberwolves have struggled with injuries all season. Three of the five starters have missed most of the season with various injuries.
Ricky Rubio is the biggest injury for the Timberwolves. He commands the offense, and missed a lot of time due to a tough ankle injury. While there were reports that he would be getting back into the lineup sooner, the latest reports indicate that Rubio will be out until mid January. However, one positive sign is that Ricky Rubio started traveling with the team, indicating that he is on the mend and should at least be on schedule to come back sometime in January.
One positive from Rubio’s absence is that Zach LaVine receives more experience for each game that Rubio sits, as he gets to start in his place. While this makes the Timberwolves overall play worse, LaVine continues to improve the more minutes he gets.
Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Martin will also be out at until January, and Martin might be back a little later than that. Pekovic’s ank

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Diedhiou admitted to Minnesota, added to roster (Yahoo Sports)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota freshman forward Gaston Diedhiou (Gas-TOHN JAY’-joo) has been admitted to the university and added to the roster.

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Takeaways from Zach LaVine’s Performance for Minnesota Timberwolves so Far

The 2014 NBA season is as young as Zach LaVine‘s career, but already there are some takeaways to garner. Due to the many injuries on the Minnesota Timberwolves roster, LaVine has taken over the reins as the team’s starting point guard.

The 6’5″ rookie from UCLA wasn’t drafted because of his college stat line or his ability to make an immediate impact; his value lies in his potential. He’s fast, he can shoot from beyond the arc and he may be the best dunker in the NBA (as seen in the GIF below).

LaVine’s ceiling is high, but so far this season, he’s looked like any other struggling rookie. 

 

LaVine Has Big-Game Potential but He’s Not Consistent

The 19-year-old rookie has had his fair share of ups and downs. In a 120-119 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on November 28, LaVine had a breakout performance, racking up 28 points and five assists. The very next game, in a 107-93 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, he shot 0-of-3 and tallied zero points and zero assists.

The potential is there, but the consistency is not. Through 21 games (12 starts), he has a very mediocre stat line: 9.1 points per game, 3.5 assists per game and a horrid 39.1 field-goal percentage. 

In December, LaVine is averaging an impressive 11.4 points per game, but he’s only shooting 37.5 percent from the floor (according to ESPN). He’s improving the quantity but not the quality. 

LaVine has shown glimpses of potential, but those games are usually surrounded by nights of mediocrity. He’s very raw, but with time, we may see more ups than downs from the young point guard.

 

LaVine is a Much Better Facilitator Than Expected

At UCLA, he only averaged 1.8 assists per game. In his defense, LaVine was only a freshman, and he didn’t have a lot of experience as a floor general (with only one start in his collegiate career). 

The biggest pleasant surprise this season for LaVine has been his competence as a passer. In four of his 12 starts, the rookie has racked up eight or more assists. In college, he never recorded more than six assists in a single game.

His best performance of the year came on December 6 in a 123-101 loss to the San Antonio Spurs, when he recorded 22 points and 10 assists—his first career double-double. 

Much like his scoring ability, he can occasionally have big games as a facilitator, but he hasn’t been very consistent. Eventually, Rubio will come back, and the team won’t depend on LaVine as its primary passer.

 

LaVine Has Struggled from Beyond the Arc

When LaVine entered the draft, one of the big selling points was his ability to shoot from long range. In college, he shot 37.5 percent on three-point attempts. 

Unfortunately, his shot hasn’t transitioned well to the big leagues. He is currently shooting only 25 percent from downtown. 

In his defense, not only is he a teenager, but the NBA three-point line is about four feet farther from the basket than it is in college. With more time and experience, LaVine’s long-range efficiency will most likely increase. 

 

In Conclusion

His 8.05 player efficiency rating is well below the league average (15), and he’s shooting under 40 percent from the field (which is the basketball version of the Mendoza), but he has shown signs of being a great future player. 

He’s had two 20-plus-point performances this season, both in which he shot over 50 percent.

He’s also been one of the best rookies in this year’s class. LaVine currently ranks fourth in points per game and second in assists per game among rookies, according to ESPN. He’s also the only point guard in his class who has a double-double. 

He’s clearly very talented, but it will take at least a few more years before LaVine becomes a consistent contributor. 

 

All stats are courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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Diedhiou admitted to Minnesota, added to roster

Minnesota freshman Gaston Diedhiou admitted to school, immediately added to basketball roster

      
 

 

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Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Washington Wizards 12/16/14: Video Highlights, Recap

The red-hot Washington Wizards looked to keep rolling on Tuesday night when they took on the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Wizards had won four straight and eight of their last nine and faced a struggling Timberwolves side who had lost two straight and nine of its last 10. 

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Los Angeles Lakers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves 12/14/14: Video Highlights, Recap

It was a night for history as Kobe Bryant finally passed Michael Jordan on the NBA‘s all-time scoring list. 

The Los Angeles Lakers’ matchup with the Minnesota Timberwolves was the backdrop for the occasion as the two struggling sides met looking for some positive momentum.

Watch the video for full highlights.

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L.A. Lakers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves: Live Score, Highlights and Reaction

Kobe Bryant will look to pass Michael Jordan for third place on the NBA‘s all-time scoring list when the Los Angeles Lakers travel to Target Center to take on the Minnesota Timberwolves Sunday night.

Bryant, who scored 22 points in the Lakers’ Friday night overtime win against the San Antonio Spurs, is nine points away from surpassing Jordan.

Los Angeles will also be searching for its first three-game winning streak of the season.

The Timberwolves, who have been without several key players, have been struggling mightily, losing seven of their last eight contests.

Catch all of the action at 7 p.m. ET on either TWC SportsNet or Fox Sports North.

Be sure to keep it right here as Bleacher Report provides you with live coverage throughout the game.

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OKC Thunder vs. Minnesota Timberwolves 12/12/14: Video Highlights and Recap

The Oklahoma City Thunder entered Friday night looking to keep a four-game win streak alive against the Western Conference’s worst team in the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Watch the full highlights here.

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Minnesota Timberwolves Weekly; Shabazz Muhammad surging

This past week:
This was a brutal week to be a fan of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Yesterday, the Timberwolves lost to the San Antonio Spurs by 20 and that wasn’t even their worst loss of the week, as they also lost to the pitiful Philadelphia 76ers who hadn’t won a game this season. The best game of the week was the game against the Houston Rockets, even though the Timberwolves lost, they managed to push a playoff bound team into overtime and rebounded from an ugly loss to the 76ers. However even against Houston, turnovers and bad defense really hurt the team, which is becoming an alarming pattern for this team.
Game Balls:
Shabazz Muhammad
The best player this week for the Timberwolves the week was definitely Shabazz Muhammad. While he didn’t get many minutes against the Sixers, he scored 20 points in both games against the Rockets and Spurs, while shooting over 50 percent from the field for the week. Zach LaVine is another player deserving of a game ball, as he recorded his first double double again

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Houston Rockets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves 12/5/14: Video Highlights and Recap

The red-hot Houston Rockets looked to keep rolling along on Friday night when they took on the Minnesota Timberwolves. The explosive Rockets had won two straight and five of their last six, and faced a reeling T-Wolves squad that had dropped three straight and six of its last seven. 

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