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.”