The Minnesota Timberwolves are fighting to make the playoffs for the first time since 2003. While making it will be a huge boost for the team’s morale, the summer of 2018 could place them in a position of not having to fight through the last day of the season. According to Jake Paynting of Dunking With Wolves, the Timberwolves could sign Nerlens Noel this offseason.
While fans may want to add another scorer to the team, Tom Thibodeau is a heavy believer in defense. Adding Noel would be great for two reasons. One is that by adding the defensive ace, it will free up players like Jimmy Butler and Andrew Wiggins to cheat more on the wings and become better lockdown players knowing they have a force in the middle. Not to take anything away from Karl-Anthony Towns, but as great as he is on the offensive end of the court, his defense has not quite caught up yet.
What the move will also do is let Thibs swing Anthony Towns to power forward.
Seems small but imagine placing Towns to go against players like LaMarcus Aldridge, Blake Griffin, Draymond Green, and Marcus Morris. While each can hold their own, neither can stop Towns. This has to be the idea Paynting had in mind when he thought of this list. Noel is not going to give the Timberwolves 20 points and 10 rebounds a night. During his career, Noel has averaged 9.3 points and 7.2 rebounds while shooting 52 percent from the floor.
Not great numbers but considering Noel has not been a top offensive option nor has he averaged more than 22 minutes per game since 2015 while with the Philadelphia 76ers. What’s also important to keep in mind is that Noel is still just 23-years-old. His presence will fit in well with the young Timberwolves.
For Thibs, adding Noel would be like having a young Joakim Noah back in the fold. A blue-collar player who loves nothing more than to do the dirty work while his offensive-minded teammates score the points. Thibs understands how to win games, he just needs to get the right players to do so.
A quick look at Noel’s number and you will see that when he has played significant minutes and has posted averages of 10 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks for the Sixers in 30 minutes per game. Noel will not be an option on offense with Butler, Teague, Wiggins, and Towns, but he can still be just as effective.
What the Timberwolves need most is a player in the middle to play the role of the intimidator. While KAT has earned his respect throughout the league, he’s not the player who will knock you on the floor for attempting to come into the paint. Noel is the guy the Wolves are lacking to take that next step.