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Minnesota Timberwolves: 3 Players That Disappointed This Season

Minnesota needs to be more than just KAT all around.
Minnesota needs to be more than just KAT all around.
Achyut Dubey

The Minnesota Timberwolves barely made it to the playoffs last year, hanging on by a thread down at the 8th spot on the West leaderboard. However, that seems like a major achievement now in retrospect.

Karl-Anthony Towns and his Minnesota Timberwolves finished at a dismal 11th place on the Western Conference standings this year, never looking like making it to the postseason.

Timberwolves coach and president Tom Thibodeau was abruptly fired back in January and replaced by 32-year-old Ryan Saunders as an interim coach even as the team sunk out of the playoff picture. Safe to say, it was a trainwreck of a year for the organization as they continue to look for ways to build around the franchise cornerstone in Towns.

After putting an end to a 13-year playoff drought last season, the team clearly couldn't build on the momentum this campaign. Much of the damage can be attributed to Jimmy Butler's controversial exit.

A majority of players in the current squad do not match up to his playing standards and as a result, KAT was stranded in the middle of nowhere with a directionless supporting cast.

On that nore, without further ado, let's analyze three players who failed to play prominent roles this season.


#1 Taj Gibson

Taj Gibson spent most of his career with the Chicago Bulls.
Taj Gibson spent most of his career with the Chicago Bulls.

In a reunion with Coach Thibodeau last year in Minnesota, the 33-year-old put up near-career-high numbers both in scoring and rebounding, having started in all 82 games. But that didn't carry over to the recently ended regular season as he could manage just a little over 10 points and 6 rebounds a game.

He played in just 70 games and was part of the starting lineup in only 57 of them. Despite playing over 24 minutes per game and shooting a career-best 56% from the field this past regular season, Taj Gibson was not able to impact the floor like he normally does.

In the process, he committed 2.7 personal fouls per game along with shooting a subpar 75% from the free-throw line.

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#2 Jeff Teague

Jeff Teague signed a three-year, $57 million contract with the T-Wolves in 2017.
Jeff Teague signed a three-year, $57 million contract with the T-Wolves in 2017.

Jeff Teague appeared in a total of just 42 games for Minnesota this year, playing 30 minutes on an average. Despite averaging a career-high 8.2 assists per game, he scored at a career-low pace of just around 12 points per game. His intensity on defense was visibly dampened as he ended his 2018-19 campaign having effected barely one steal per game.

This was also his worst shooting year since his rookie season as the 30-year-old veteran from Indiana could only manage an unimpressive 40% conversion from the floor.

Teague has been battling left foot injuries throughout the 2018-19 season. He suffered a bruised left knee in the early part of the season followed by a left ankle inflammation in January which caused him to miss eight games again. In March, he was ruled out for the season after having aggravated his injury and had to undergo surgery in April.

#3 Josh Okogie

Josh Okogie went to Georgia Tech and was drafted 20th overall in 2018.
Josh Okogie went to Georgia Tech and was drafted 20th overall in 2018.

The Timberwolves picked Okogie in the first round and Butler's exit provided him with an early taste of the starting lineup. Being a scoring leader with 18.2 ppg back in college, Okogie's talents have not translated fairly well to the professional environment that NBA houses.

In the 74 games played for Minnesota this season, he could only manage 7.7 points and less than 3 rebounds per game.

He shot less than 40% from the floor - not satisfactory for a shooting guard - in over 24 minutes of on-court time every game. Josh recorded subpar averages in all the other aspects of the game, however, he was named a member of the World Team for the 2019 Rising Stars Challenge.

His emphatic block of James Harden's three-point shot in February is one of the very few highlights he's had in his rookie season.

Edited by Arvind Sriram

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