Minnesota Timberwolves Continue To Bring Rookies Along Slowly

By Nick Guenther
Howard Smith – USA TODAY Sports

Last night, the Minnesota Timberwolves lost handily to the Golden State Warriors. Late in the fourth quarter, the Wolves’ three rookies hit the floor, and something special happened.

Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng scored their first NBA points, while Robbie Hummel is still scoreless. Muhammad and Hummel have each appeared in two games so far, earning just seven and eight minutes across those contests respectively. Dieng has seen action in three games so far and have played a total of 23 minutes. The three rookies will likely continue seeing only garbage time until one of them steps up or another player goes down.

That coach Rick Adelman hasn’t played his rookies much yet shouldn’t be a surprise. The Timberwolves have performed well without them and they still need to learn and adjust to the NBA game, so saddling them with heavy minutes right away would be a mistake. Even in garbage time, the three have looked noticeably slow on defense, though Dieng has blocked three shots so far.

Being able to transition the rookies slowly into the lineup is a luxury. Dieng has seen more time because the Wolves have very little depth at center with Ronny Turiaf currently injured. The opportunity to play more will likely come soon for Muhammad and Hummel too, though they are behind Corey Brewer and Derrick Williams on the small forward depth chart.

Williams hasn’t played much so far this season and may be on the trading block, so more minutes may be given to the rookie wings soon.

The rookies’ slow start is nothing to worry about. Each of them seems content to play within Adelman’s system and knows that their chance to earn playing time will come. This season looks to be an exciting one for the Timberwolves, and the rookies will be a part of it. How big of a part they play remains to be seen.

Nick Guenther is a Minnesota Timberwolves writer for Rantsports.com. Follow him on twitter @nickynicknickk or add him to your network on Google .

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