Part of the reason the Timberwolves were willing to part with Patrick Beverley and Malik Beasley in the Rudy Gobert trade was because they wanted to give Jaylen Nowell an opportunity to have a regular spot in the rotation. The fourth-year guard admitted a couple weeks ago that his season was “not going well,” and Monday’s loss to the last-place Rockets was further evidence of that, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.
In nearly 19 minutes of action, Nowell finished 3-of-8 from the field for seven points, and committed three turnovers with zero assists. He also struggled defensively, Krawczynski notes, which has been an ongoing issue.
Obviously, the loss was not solely on the 23-year-old, who is set to hit unrestricted free agency in the summer. But if the Wolves want to make a real playoff push, they’ll need Nowell to provide a more consistent offensive spark off the bench, says Krawczynski.
Here’s more from the Northwest:
- With Karl-Anthony Towns sidelined since late November due to a calf strain, and Gobert missing nine games with various injuries, the Timberwolves‘ center depth has been a positive in 2022/23, as Chris Hine of The Star Tribune details. Naz Reid, Nathan Knight and Luka Garza have all been given opportunities at various points during the season, and while they’re all trying to earn minutes, they also support each other. “You still want them to be successful,” Reid said, per Hine. “So you talk to each and every one of those guys. I might see something on the court, say something to them adjustment-wise of whatever the case may be and they might say something to me. At the same time, we’re all trying to help each other get better.”
- Walker Kessler has had an impressive rookie season for the Jazz, and is already one of the top shot blockers in the league. He has been starting at center in place of the injured Kelly Olynyk (ankle), but how can he land the job full time? Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune has the story.
- The Trail Blazers have had a rocky season, currently sitting at 23-25, the No. 12 seed in the West. While Damian Lillard has been as great as ever, scoring a season-high 60 points (on 21-of-29 shooting) in Wednesday’s win over Utah, there has been “little to zero” indication that Portland can make a legitimate playoff push, according to Jason Quick of The Athletic. Ahead of the trade deadline, Quick believes the simplest route to infuse more talent on the roster would be to land in the lottery again, as the Blazers will lose their 2023 first-rounder if they reach the playoffs. However, that’s complicated by the fact that Lillard wants to be “in the best position to win.”
8 thoughts on “Northwest Notes: Nowell, Wolves Centers, Kessler, Blazers”
The Blazers are in a similar situation to the Mavs, but probably worse for the long haul due to Luka being the younger superstar. They have better long term bench pieces though. I think both teams would be wise to talk to Dame and Luka and say, yes we want to bring in someone not, but not at the cost of ruining the future. There’s always someone who feels the need to get something from someone at the end of the deadline that gives that player up for a couple seconds. I mean look at even the Hachimura trade. That’s not a game changing trade, but it gives the Lakers options and I think it will help them now.
I don’t see how Portland is not doing better than they are. But CJ is a winner. Time will tell.
They sold CJ for pennies and didn’t expect the Pelicans to make the playoffs at the time of the trade so it was essentially CJ, Nance for Hart and a future second round pick because the Pelicans fell out of the lottery. And traded NAW and a pick for nothing to Utah. It essentially set that franchise back. And they can’t trade Dame because he’s making 60m and no GM is gutting 60 mil worth of salaries to get dame no matter how good he is.
POR seemed to put a lot of effort into a makeover at the end of last season through the off season, but they look like almost the same team. Billups (vs Stotts) gives them a little edge defensively that they never had, and with Grant, they finally have an elite defender. Combining Grant with a healthy Nurkic and Hart, you’d think their defense would be at least decent. Not close. The team is still defined by two smaller G’s who don’t defend, and that shoot way too much from great distance. DL needs to look in the mirror and acknowledge, if only to himself, that he’s not a victim of this situation. He’s one of the perpetrators. He’ll change his game, or all the HELP in the world isn’t going to mean anything.
FO needs to realize two high usage small guards wont work. They need to do right by Dame and make a Haliburton-Sabo type deal.
Maybe Toronto is a good dance partner. Besides them, think couple teams would fancy Simons. And they have Sharpe in the pipeline too
Blazers are now a Thibodeau team with just 7 guys who can see the floor … They need Nass and Winslow to be available and maybe they can get someone with a Hart deal but if they sign Grant on a max they will have to move Nurkic to get some financial flexibility to add size and D
Blazers could have brought Melo and Whiteside back for real depth or traded the 8th pick when they had it
They tried to get OG with the 8th pick