After a weird 20-21 season, the wolves have seemingly finally found a great starting 5. This was no easy task, last year the wolves used dozens of different lineups. The lineup that looks to bring the wolves places this year consists of Patrick Beverley – D’Angelo Russell – Anthony Edwards – Jarred Vanderbilt – Karl-Anthony Towns.
In the 9 games the wolves have used this starting 5, they have won 7 of those games. Injuries so far have prevented it from being used more. Patrick Beverley earlier in the season missed 6 games due to a groin injury. And Dlo, who just came back after missing 3 games due to an ankle injury.
This lineup goes beyond wins and loses. This particular starting 5 ranks 1ST in the NBA in net rating. A whole 9.7 points ahead of the second place lineup (Cavaliers). They also rank 1st in offensive rating for a 5 man unit at 135.4, and second in defense at 85.4.
Let’s talk about the back-court of this lineup: Russell & Beverley. Since Finch has paired the two guards together in the starting lineup, both of their play has increased. Their skill-sets match very well, which leads to good perimeter defense, good play-making on offense and overall great team IQ. Russell in particular has been crucial to the wolves success. Minnesota is 12-10 when Russell appears in a game, and a whooping 0-5 when he doesn’t. Both Beverley and Russell bring great clutch aspects to their games. Beverley, with his lock down defense as shown last night shutting down Damian Lillard late. And also shown last night, Russell’s insane clutch ability (Dlo ranks 3rd in clutch scoring in the NBA despite missing 5 games).
Anthony Edwards, who hasn’t been on his game as of late is still a big part to this team. Ant brings spirts of offense in needed times. He’s usually an energetic defender also. He’s one of the best young scorers in the league, and he’s gonna continue to thrive and improve with Minnesota.
Finally, the front court pair. Jarred Vanderbilt and Karl-Anthony Towns. They are very different players, and they help complement each other. Vanderbilt, a great defender that lacks lots of offensive talent. And Kat, the elite shooting big man that can dominate any game. Both rebound at good rates, especially Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt has a gift of getting around people who are trying to box him out. He simply just doesn’t let people do that to him. Kat could improve his rebounding, but he’s still bringing down 9.2 RPG. Kat is the best shooting center the NBA has ever seen. He recently passed Brook Lopez for most 3’s all time by a center.
This lineup just has it all. Lots of defensive options, tons of smarts and IQ, good shooting pieces, fantastic athleticism and more. This is what Minnesota needs to make a playoff push. It’s all up to the health and availability of these players.