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On The Block: Wolves Surging Behind Karl-Anthony Towns-Led Post Attack


On The Block: Wolves Surging Behind Karl-Anthony Towns-Led Post Attack

You know who has the NBA’s best offense in 2022?

Not the Steph Curry-led Golden State Warriors (111.6 Offensive Rating, 15th), who are winners of nine straight and generally the beacon of ball-and-body movement.

You’re on the right track if you guessed the Trae Young-led Atlanta Hawks (115.5, 4th) — the man’s been on fire (28.4 points and 9.2 assists per game, 61.8% True Shooting) by the way — but they’re trailing the leader by more than three points per 100 possessions.

The #BeautifulGame Phoenix Suns? You’re getting warmer (117.4, 3rd), pun intended. Nikola Jokic (26-13-9 with .608/.416/.875 splits) and the Denver Nuggets (117.8, 2nd) get you closer, but still misses the mark by over a point.

Your answer? The Minnesota Timberwolves, scorching the nets (and the Nets, hanging 136 points on Brooklyn a couple of weeks ago) to the tune of a 118.9 ORTG. Even if you shrink it down to half-court possessions, they still edge out the Suns (102.9) for the league’s most efficient unit (103.6) per Cleaning The Glass.

After spending the 2021 portion of the season being a borderline-elite defense (108.2 Defensive Rating, 11th) and struggling offense (107.3, 23rd), the script has officially flipped in 2022. The Wolves’ method of madness seems in line with their personnel now: We’re going to blitz you with buckets, then garner enough stops (111.6 DRTG, 17th) to rack up Ws.

As such, Minnesota is 13-6 in the new year (No. 5 in the West, No. 8 in the NBA) while boasting the fourth-best Net Rating (plus-7.3) in the league.

Everything has perked up for the Wolves, particularly in half-court situations. Just look at the shift statistically, per Cleaning The Glass:

Through Dec. 31: 59.0% at the rim (26th), 36.3% from mid range (27th), 33.6% from three (22nd)
Since Jan. 1: 65.1% at the rim (16th), 43.9% from mid range (8th), 38.1% from three (3rd)

Generally, this is the point where the “truth is somewhere in the middle” mantra kicks in. But then, you remember the Wolves had a 105.7 ORTG up until the Chris Finch hire last year, and boosted that figure to 111.9 to finish out the season. There was goodness…

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