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NBA PM: Young Believes ‘Sky’s the Limit’ for Wolves

Thaddeus Young says “the sky’s the limit” for the Timberwolves. He believes they could fight for a playoff spot this year.

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Young Believes ‘Sky’s the Limit’ for Wolves

After being acquired by the Minnesota Timberwolves in August’s blockbuster trade involving Kevin Love, Thaddeus Young has emerged as one of the team’s most important players this season. Not only has Young been one of the Timberwolves’ most productive players, he has also been a strong veteran leader for the team, which is crucial since the Wolves have seven players who are 24 years old or younger.

In the first two games of the season, Young averaged 22.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, three assists and 2.5 steals. He shot 54.8 percent from the field and 57.1 percent from three-point range. He also hit a clutch three-pointer with 90 seconds remaining against the Detroit Pistons, which helped Minnesota secure their first victory of the season.

Young was playing well in the third game of the season too, until a collision with Chicago Bulls swingman Jimmy Butler caused him to go limp and exit the game with a neck injury. While initially it looked like a severe injury, Young practiced on Monday and has passed the league’s baseline concussion tests so he may not even miss a game.

Young has long been one of the most underrated forwards in the league, so it’s no surprise that he’s making his presence felt on the Timberwolves. Young, along with veterans like Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin, Nikola Pekovic, Mo Williams and Corey Brewer, have helped the team’s young players like Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, Zach LaVine, Gorgui Dieng and Shabazz Muhammad.

After seeing what the group is capable of, he believes Minnesota has what it takes to battle for a playoff spot in the Western Conference. The last time the Timberwolves made the playoffs was during the 2003-04 NBA season.

“I think with the pieces that we have in this room today, we can go out there and potentially be a playoff team,” Young told Basketball Insiders. “I think the biggest goal at hand is to make it back to the playoffs and end this 10-year playoff drought. Right now, our main focus is to go out there and get better as a team each and every day and try to get ourselves a good playoff spot.

“I think the sky’s the limit for this team. If it’s not this year, then it’s the following year. We have really good pieces on this team as far as young guys and we have solid veterans as well. I think we all complement each other very well, enough to go out there and do some things.”

The 26-year-old Young is excited about his change of scenery, because he was tired of losing so many games with the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers won just 19 games last year in an effort to tank their way to a top pick. The team traded away just about every veteran on their roster except for Young, and made it clear that their goal was to lose games and stockpile picks. This plan may ultimately pay off for Philly, but it wasn’t something that Young enjoyed.

It was frustrating to go out there each and every day to keep fighting and then you’re not coming up with anything,” Young said of last year with the Sixers. “But that situation is over now. I have a new team, new beginning and new chapter so I’m just ready to go out there and continue to play and get better with this team.

“We have a solid mixture of young guys and a solid mixture of veteran guys, which we didn’t have – the veteran guys – last year in Philadelphia and they don’t have the veteran guys this year as well. I think that’s the biggest difference, [the Wolves] have more experience and more guys you can learn from on the team to help the young guys. I think that’s the biggest thing, having a solid mixture of both groups.”

The Timberwolves also have an exciting product to put on the floor. Wiggins and LaVine have dubbed themselves the Bounce Brothers, since they are both extraordinary athletes and excellent dunkers. They also have a ton of other high-upside players who could be very good once they adjust to the NBA. Throw in some talented veterans and who knows what this Wolves team will be able to accomplish?

“It’s going to be a high-flying season,” Young said. “It’s going to be a very exciting season.”

Bosh, Thompson Named Players of the Week

The Miami HEAT’s Chris Bosh and the Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson were today named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Tuesday, Oct. 28, through Sunday, Nov. 2.

Bosh averaged 25.7 points (third in the conference), 11.3 rebounds (third in the conference), 4.0 assists and 1.3 steals as he helped Miami to the East’s lone perfect week at 3-0. He led the HEAT in scoring, rebounding and minutes in all three games, and posted two double-doubles. In Miami’s season-opening 107-95 victory over the Washington Wizards on Oct. 29, Bosh tallied 26 points and added 15 boards, and connected on 3-of-4 three-point field goal attempts.

Thompson led the league in scoring at 29.7 ppg, as he shot .455 (10-of-22) from distance and .913 (21-of-23) from the foul line. He scored a career high 41 points on 14-of-18 shooting from the field on Nov. 1, during a 127-104 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. To close the week, Thompson poured in 29 points at Portland on Nov. 2, including hitting the go-ahead shot with 8.9 seconds remaining during a 95-90 Warriors win.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Atlanta’s Jeff Teague, Brooklyn’s Joe Johnson, Chicago’s Pau Gasol, Cleveland’s LeBron James and Kevin Love, Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin, Memphis’ Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, New Orleans’ Anthony Davis, New York’s Carmelo Anthony, Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay, Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan and Washington’s John Wall.

Alex Kennedy is the Managing Editor of Basketball Insiders and this is his 10th season covering the NBA. He is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

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