Timberwolves Wish List: 1 Wish for Each Wolves Player

AP Photo: Sue Ogrocki

Have you ever been bored and thought about your favorite athletes and how great it would be to snap your fingers to add a skill or trait to their game? No? That’s just me? Great! I spend too much of my time thinking about the Timberwolves, and often find myself wanting to grant one wish to improve an important part of each player’s game. As an example, my one wish for Andrew Wiggins was that he would magically become an amazing playmaker to go along with his scoring capabilities. In my mind that would take the Wolves to the next level. Alas, it would not happen, but it was a fun thought exercise. So now we will go through each rostered Wolves player and grant their wish to improve their game.

Karl-Anthony Towns

Wish Granted: An Indestructible Body

Towns was on a superstar trajectory after his 4th season in the NBA, coming off of back to back All Star appearances and an All-NBA team appointment. It seemed his ascent would continue as the team pivoted to revolve around him. Unfortunately knee and wrist injuries during the 19–20 season limited him to only 35 games, then another wrist injury along with a bout with COVID has severely limited his availability in the 20–21 season. This has caused him to fall behind other centers such as Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic, and Rudy Gobert in the eyes of the national media. If granted an indestructible body, Towns could avoid injury and return to full seasons worth of 25 points per game on great efficiency to return to his proper standing among the best centers in the league. After all the big man has gone through, this seems like a pretty fair wish to grant.

D’Angelo Russell

Wish Granted: Supreme Defensive Instincts

DLo can be a great scorer and distributor on offense. Although we have not seen them together very much, he would seem to be a snug fit along side KAT, Edwards, and Beasley to form an awesome offensive group. Defensively that 4-man group lacks a savvy defensive player at the point of attack. Russell’s slight body likely keeps him from becoming a top flight defender, but if he had great defensive instincts and IQ to know exactly where to be and how to slow down opposing offenses, he would be infinitely more valuable. He is young, so maybe he will develop a better plan of attack on defense, but this wish being granted would make me feel better about the Wolves optimal offensive unit surviving on defense.

Malik Beasley

Wish Granted: Unlimited Lung Capacity

Malik expels so much energy during an NBA game. On offense he is constantly running around the perimeter looking for open spaces to shoot a 3. Defensively he works his butt off to stay in front of his opponent, and arguably tries too hard on some possessions. He seemingly never gets tired, but he may need to be saved from himself after asking for more minutes in a postgame interview after he had just played 37 minutes. He seems like he wants to play all 48 minutes, so I am willing to grant that wish and keep the 3pt. marksman out there for the full game. If he wants more minutes, let’s just let him play every single one.

Anthony Edwards

Wish Granted: The Perfect Shot Selection

Ant is an athletic marvel and a seemingly fantastic human being. Wolves fans want nothing but the best for him, and it looks like he has all the potential in the world to do anything he wants on a basketball court. With all of those skills and potential comes the propensity to make some inefficient decisions with his shot selection. I trust Ant to make almost any shot he takes, but as he matures it would be nice to see him start taking the exact right shots for the situation, so we will grant him the perfect shot selection to become one of the most athletic, skilled, and efficient scorers in the NBA.

Josh Okogie

Wish Granted: About 4 More Inches of Height

Josh Okogie has some very interesting tools as an NBA player. He is lightning quick, athletic, strong, and has great hands on defense. Unfortunately to be an effective NBA rotation player as a 6'4" wing, you need to have a go-to skill on offense if you cannot shoot. Currently Josh does not have that quality. Instead of giving him that skill, we will make him a 6'8" power forward. Suddenly his tools make a lot more sense and mesh better with the Timberwolves. He would be used as a pick and roll lob threat on offense and a rim protector who can switch on to perimeter players on defense. That is an incredibly valuable player in the NBA, and would be a fun wish to grant.

Jarrett Culver

Wish Granted: Unwavering Confidence

When JC is having one of his “confident” games, fans can see why the Wolves selected him with the 6th overall pick in the 2019 draft. He is the wing-sized ball handler who gets to the rim on offense and uses his length and instincts to be a menace on defense. He also will not hesitate to shoot from the 3pt. line or take free throws. When Jarrett is having a bad game, it is evident in all areas as he will be hesitant on offense and timid on defense. We will simply give him 100% confidence in himself for the rest of his career which immediately makes him a valuable wing player for the Wolves.

Jarred Vanderbilt

Wish Granted: An 80% Free Throw Stroke

Vanderbilt is another young wolf that has all the tools and size to be a great NBA player, but his poor free throw shooting is a concern for his long-term offensive viability in the league. This season he is shooting 51% from the line and he is at 54% for his career. For a smaller big man in today’s NBA, that percentage will limit his offensive effectiveness. Even though he cannot space the floor, an 80% free throw stroke would make a difference in his team’s offensive abilities, and thus allow him to be a very valuable big man.

AP Photo: Tony Dejak

Naz Reid

Wish Granted: The Strength of Zion

The skill and offensive ability that Naz Reid has shown in his 2nd NBA season has been a delightful surprise for the downtrodden Wolves. Naz is one of the few bright spots in an otherwise difficult season, and his development so far in the NBA is fun to watch. While he is one of the more skilled big men in the league, Naz is not as tall, long, or athletic as some of the game’s best. While he is very strong and burly, he is not quite in that upper echelon of muscle men in the NBA along with Steven Adams, Bam Adebayo, and Zion Williamson. We will allow Naz to have the overall strength of Zion combined with his skill and shooting touch to form an amazing NBA center.

Jordan McLaughlin

Wish Granted: Record Setting Sales for his Online Merchandise

What else does the best player in NBA history need? I kid. JMac could probably use a little extra height or a more consistent 3pt. stroke, but honestly he has already exceed the expectations of many in the NBA community as a legitimately solid NBA point guard. For that reason we will grant him record setting sales in his online store: www.jmacmerch.club. Head over there any buy something!

Jaylen Nowell

Wish Granted: Starter-Level Opportunity

Jaylen continues to show that he is a legitimate NBA player as a scorer on offense and a solid perimeter defender. He has likely been this player all along, but he just needed a chance to show his skills. Now he is receiving increased opportunity off the bench for the Timberwolves, and he is taking advantage. It would be interesting to see what he could do with even more minutes and opportunity in the NBA. I would grant him the chance to receive the same minutes that a starting guard to see what he can do. That opportunity may not come as a Timberwolves player, but hopefully that wish can come true somewhere.

Jaden McDaniels

Wish Granted: Nothing, He’s Perfect

The brightest of bright spots for Timberwolves fans watching the team in 2021 has been the immediate emergence of rookie Jaden McDaniels. He has flashed a little bit of everything so far in his rookie year, so it is hard to know exactly what he will need to add. At this point, the sky is the limit for the lanky 20 year old, and he may not even need us to add anything to his game to fulfill his monstrous potential. Anything we could grant for McDaniels is something that he may develop on his own anyway. For now, we will just sit back and enjoy the developmental ride.

Ed Davis

Wish Granted: More Opportunities to Hype His Teammates When They Dunk

There is a reason why Damian Lillard considers Ed Davis to be one of the best teammates he has ever had. On the court Ed brings consistent defense and rebounding, and stays in his (limited) lane on offense. Off the court he seems to be a rock solid human being who is an excellent locker room presence. However his greatest quality is how he hypes up his teammates as they are about to do something awesome. “Exhibit A” is Anthony Edwards’ dunk on James Wiseman where Ed can be heard yelling something along the lines of “cook his ass” as Ant is getting ready to sky for the slam. I hope Edwards and the rest of the team give him a reason to get caught yelling funny stuff on a hot mic for the rest of the year.

Ricky Rubio

Wish Granted: A Reliable & Consistent Finisher at the Rim

Many Wolves fans would opt to add a 3pt. shot to Rubio’s arsenal, but I have long felt that he would become most dangerous if teams respected his ability to attack the rim and finish. How many times have we seen Ricky drive into the paint looking to pass where no defenders leave their man to collapse on him? He is a “pass only” guard, and that can cause an offense to screech to a halt with Rubio on the ball. If Rubio established himself as a player who can make floaters and draw fouls around the rim, he entire repertoire of passes would be unleashed when help defenders collapse on him in the lane. As much as Wolves fans love Ricky, this wish would take that love AND his game to new heights.

Juancho Hernangomez

Wish Granted: 10% More Athleticism

Juancho Hernangomez is obviously a great athlete by regular human standards. He is an NBA player and is 6'9" tall. Unfortunately the rest of the NBA is littered with guys who are just as big and even more athletic. With such large players on an NBA court, the margin for error is so slim, and if you are not quite as good of an athlete as everyone else it will certainly show up. Juancho can occasionally be one step behind the opposition, and it costs his team. He can often make up for this athleticism deficit with a smart offensive game and superior shooting, but if he was allowed about 10% more athleticism to matchup with other NBA players that are his size, he could combine that with superior skill to be a great forward in the NBA. For such a nice guy and future movie star, this would be an awesome development.

Jake Layman

Wish Granted: Off the Dribble Playmaking Ability

Jake has a lot of great qualities for an NBA wing player. He is tall, long, athletic, and generally knows where to be on offense and defense. His biggest weakness is that he is usually unable to make anything happen off the dribble on an NBA court. His handle is loose, and if he gets moving towards the basket it is unlikely that he is going to pass to a teammate. These are very difficult skills for a player to learn, and he has a lot of other great qualities, but if he could add that dimension to make plays off the dribble he would become a huge asset to the Wolves wing rotation.

Ryan Saunders

Wish Granted: A Fresh Start

First of all, Ryan Saunders is an A+ human being, and my first choice would be for him to coach the Timberwolves as long as he wants with tons of success. Unfortunately that is an unlikely scenario. Saunders has been overmatched as a head coach in the NBA so far, but his value to a coaching staff in a player development and player connection role is undeniable. Through basically two seasons of being a head coach, the Wolves have not had success, yet the team’s chemistry and morale has consistently been high. Also multiple young players have greatly improved under his watch, and many veteran players have credited Ryan with helping them jump to the next level. If Ryan is removed as the Wolves head coach, I hope he gets a fresh start as an assistant with a good team. He can learn from a more experienced head coach, and help them develop younger players and keep peace in a locker room. Then he may be much better equipped to take the reins as a head coach somewhere else in the future. That would not be such a bad outcome for a great person like Ryan.

-Jerry W.

Analyzing the Minnesota Timberwolves and greater NBA from a fan’s perspective. Twitter: @balleyesnorth Email: balleyesnorth@gmail.com Website: balleyesnorth.com