By: OTP Staff
This is the fifth piece in a series of articles that will look at each individual position on the Minnesota Timberwolves roster heading into the 2017-18 season. Today we feature the centers.
In the transcript below, On The Prowl writers Dan Slaubaugh, Zach More, and Jonah Sprinkel discuss what KAT needs to do do take the next step in his NBA career, then converse about what roles Cole Aldrich and Justin Patton will serve this season. This conversation has been lightly edited.
Zach: I think that everyone knows a lot about KAT already. You don’t need to be a great basketball mind to know he is on his way to being a superstar. For KAT it really comes down to refining his craft and the big thing playing defense. Dan you wrote a piece earlier that had great thoughts on him. Do you have that link?
Dan: I do! Thanks for the kind words. Here is that link, where I break down what KAT needs to do to take the next step in his NBA career.
Zach: Awesome. I think it’s easier people just read the article instead of us retyping out all those thoughts on here.
Dan: I feel like Cole Aldrich is one of the most “normal” dudes on the team. I remember last winter I was sitting inside the Starbucks across from Target Center after covering the Wolves practice upstairs at the Mayo Clinic Square when he walked in and asked me, “How are you today?” With my mouth full of muffin, I mumbled “I’m doing very well, thank you. How are you Cole?”, and he responded “wonderful”.
Zach: Cole seemed to fall out of favor early with Thibs last year and never get back on his good side. I Thought he would be bigger part of team last year and just never did much. Judging by training camp, he will be a bench body unless an injury occurs. Best thing he can do for Wolves is be part of a trade package.
Jonah: When the Wolves initially signed Cole I really thought he would become a key rotational player. I’m not sure if it’s lack of knowledge within the system or what but like you said Zach, he fell out of favor early and can’t seem to get back in the good graces.
Again, like Zach said, I do hope he becomes part of a trade package for someone that will actually receive minutes and contribute in a meaningful way.
Dan: Do you guys believe Aldrich can believe a solid rotation player if needed? I think I do. He’s shown it before in New York and Los Angeles.
Jonah: I definitely do, I can’t remember the numbers off the top of my head but he was very effective and efficient during his time with the Clippers.
Dan: Absolutely. In a way, let’s hope he is not needed this season.
Jonah: Agreed. If things are bad enough to where Thibs believes he needs to play Aldrich then something went wrong.
Dan: For sure. And regardless of his consistent impact on the court, he serves well as a great locker room guy. From what I’ve heard, he and Jimmy Butler have been listening to country music together, which doesn’t surprise me at all.
Dan: Is Patton the least talked about Wolves rookie in the past decade?
Zach: Yes I really think he is. With the huge offseason the Wolves had the rookie finally isn’t the big news going into the year. The injury didn’t help him at all in these regards. With him not playing in summer league he wasn’t able to gain excitement either
Jonah: Probably, it’s hard to talk about someone we never see. Out of sight, out of mind. There simply isn’t much to say right now simply because he can’t play. The hope for the future is obviously for him to get healthy and try to get up to speed as quickly as possible. I can pretty much guarantee he’ll spend time in the G-League.
Dan: It will be interesting to see how many games he plays for the Iowa Wolves. 30? 50? Time will tell. This kid balled out last year at Creighton. Once he’s ready for the NBA I think we’ll be very impressed with his rim-running ability. He runs the court tremendously for a big.
Zach: Even with him not being talked about much Patton is a promising rookie. I will watch him close in G league. He needs to get healthy, but he is the new type of big man in the NBA. A player like him is why having a G league team is so big. He Needs time to develop but if the Wolves are patient with him I think he will be important for future.