The Timberwolves finally got back on track last night with an easy win over the Sacramento Kings at Target Center. After another winless west coast road trip, it appears the Wolves are the Warriors at home, and the Suns on the road. With just two wins on the road this season, it will be tough for a playoff hopeful squad to sneak in with their 2-12 record away from the Target Center, tied for fewest road wins in the entire league. For me, and many other Wolves fans, it will be hard to view the Wolves as a legitimate playoff contender until they start winning meaningful games on the road. However, when they are at home, they are practically unbeatable. With Jeff Teague out last night, Minnesota received a huge boost from rookie Josh Okogie. Ever since Thibodeau stopped playing Okogie, Wolves fans have been begging the coach to get him some run and I agree. After a performance like last night, there is little reason that Okogie shouldn’t play at least 10 minutes a night. Let’s look deeper into Okogie’s performance last night and through the beginning of his rookie season.
Starting with last night, Okogie looked like he was running around with 100 energy drinks in his system. Time after time, Okogie would get his hands in passing lanes, and bolt down the court for a transition opportunity. Plus, he didn’t ever stop, that’s why they call him “Non Stop.” The energy from Okogie was contagious last night, as he jolted the Wolves and was a +33 on the night, a team high. In terms of hard stats, Okogie recorded 10 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block. He did this while shooting 4-9 from the field, and 1-3 from deep. Along with the energy and stats, Okogie threw down a couple thunderous dunks and even got some MVP chants at the free-throw line from the Wolves faithful. Watch Okogie’s most impressive stretch last night below:
In reality, what Josh Okogie did last night is what he’s been doing all season, when he gets an opportunity. In the clip below, pay attention to the 50 second mark. I think this play is a perfect example of what Josh Okogie can bring and has brought to the Wolves. First, Okogie picks off a pass mid-air, then proceeds to take an aggressive drive to the rim against a shot-blocking center in JaVale McGee. Again, these are the things that Josh Okogie does ALL THE TIME.
Aside from the defense and hustle, which jumps off the page, another fascinating development in Okogie’s game has been his quick first step off the dribble. While Okogie is still a below-average shooter, his first step is so explosive that he can virtually get past any pressed up defender at any moment. Below is a clip in a recent game against the Blazers. After receiving the pass on the wing, Okogie does a great job of staying square, using a shot-fake, and exploding past the defender for an easy mid-range shot. His offensive game is far from perfect, but it’s plays like this that exemplify the great potential he has on that end of the floor.via ytCropper
Do you think it’s time to get Okogie some minutes yet? Okogie is helping the Wolves win games when he’s on the floor, and by playing him, the Wolves are also developing for the future if they can’t sneak in the playoffs this year. While it can be hard to play 10-man rotations in the NBA, it should be something Tom Thibodeau explores, which he agreed with last night, indicating he will try to find situations to get Okogie on the floor. When Thibs does get Okogie on the floor, it would be a good idea to find him time next to RoCo. With RoCo and Okogie on the wing, there’s not a much better defending wing duo out there. Wolves fans, it’s time to unleash Obi Wan Okogie.