When the Minnesota Timberwolves traded disgruntled superstar Jimmy Butler to the Philadelphia 76ers, most people expected Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins to step up and lead the team to the Western Conference Playoffs 2019. The Timberwolves might have lost a superstar, but the Butler deal gave them quality players to surround Towns and Wiggins.
Karl-Anthony Towns has managed to show a massive improvement in his performance and is currently averaging 23.9 points, 12.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.8 blocks on 51.8 percent shooting from the field and 39.6 percent shooting from beyond the marc. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as expected for Andrew Wiggins. With his inconsistent performance on both ends of the floor, Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune believes it will be best for the Timberwolves to replace him with Robert Covington in the starting lineup.
“They need to keep Towns at all costs, which means keeping him happy at all costs. They need to bench Wiggins soon and trade him this summer. Robert Covington has become the Wolves’ second-best and second most important player. That’s a compliment to him and an insult to Wiggins. When Covington returns, Wolves interim coach Ryan Saunders needs to bring Wiggins off the bench.”
Robert Covington was part of the trade package that the Timberwolves received from the Sixers for Jimmy Butler. Though he’s not on the level of Butler, Covington is also an incredible two-way player. In the first 22 games he played as a member of the Timberwolves, the 28-year-old small forward is averaging 14.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.3 steals, and 1.1 blocks on 43.3 percent shooting from the field and 37.2 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Covington is still recovering from an injury, but recent reports claimed that it will only be a matter of time before he rejoins the Timberwolves on the court.
Andrew Wiggins has maxed out his welcome as a Wolves starter https://t.co/RHozXHspwi
— Jim Souhan (@SouhanStrib) March 3, 2019
Demoting a player who’s earning a maximum salary will be a tough decision for Timberwolves Head Coach Ryan Saunders. However, it’s one of the things he needs to do if they want to see a different result in the remaining games in the 2018-19 NBA season. As Souhan noted, the Timberwolves have nothing to lose by benching Andrew Wiggins.
Being moved to the second unit could motivate Andrew Wiggins to address the issues with his game and improve his overall performance. If Wiggins won’t do anything to earn his spot in the starting lineup, the Timberwolves might consider trading him in the summer of 2019. Wiggins may be the odd man out in Minnesota, but there are still teams who are expected to express interest once he becomes officially available on the trade market.