Howlin’ T-Wolf will be ranking the entire roster from 15 to 1 leading up to the Wolves opener on Wednesday. View 10-15 here.
10. Brandon Rush, small forward/shooting guard
Rush adds significant size and versatility to the Timberwolves second and third rotations. His mid-court defensive presence is a perfect fit for coach Tom Thibodeau’s lineup.
Offensively, his 4.2 points and 14.2 minutes per game last season with the Golden State Warriors were his most since the 2012-13 season. His athletic ability despite his size makes him a mismatch against most defenders.
9. Cole Aldrich, center
Like his collegiate-turned-pro teammate Brandon Rush, Aldrich is a bench player for the Wolves. What makes this Minnesota native valuable to the team is his consistency under the hoop, a role the Wolves lacked last season behind center Karl-Anthony Towns without Nikola Pekovic.
He posted the best year of his career with the Los Angeles Clippers last season, recording 5.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.1 steals in 13.3 minutes per game.
8. Kris Dunn, point guard
Dunn will almost certainly be higher on this list next season. His summer league and pre-season performances were flashy, but he will ultimately have to prove his ability in the regular season.
Dunn is an intriguing draft addition with sixth-year point guard Ricky Rubio possessing many of the same on-court attributes. Will Dunn and Rubio play side by side? Could Dunn take over for Rubio as the starting point guard?
The storylines surrounding Dunn add a few more elements of excitement to an already attention-worthy young team.
7. Gorgui Dieng, center/power forward
Dieng will play mostly at the power forward position. With the addition of Aldrich, Dieng won’t have to cover down under the hoop as often. This depth will allow him to play more of an inside-out role as is the tradition for his position.
Dieng played in all 82 games last season and started 39. He is a shoe-in for the starting power forward position but could see a significant minute split with small forward/shooting guard Shabazz Muhammad and forward Nemanja Bjelica depending on the opposing team’s lineup.
6. Nemanja Bjelica, power forward/small forward
It is tough to put Bjelica above the likes of Dieng and Dunn. However, if the last 10 games of the 2015-16 season are any indication of his ability, Bjelica has a solid future in the NBA. Thibodeau is high on the Serbian forward, and you should be too.
This pre-season, Bjelica contributed 10.9 points and 4.3 rebounds in 23.4 minutes per game. He is ready to contribute to the Wolves in a way the team hasn’t seen from a bench player in quite some time. Pay attention when he takes the court this season.