Key #1 – Force T-Wolves into tough shots
Make no mistake about it, the Timberwolves have some supremely talented offensive players on their roster. Between the likes of Jimmy Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, they are a prolific group.
However, ironically enough, they aren’t always the most efficient of squads. In fact, heading into Tuesday’s slate of games, the Timberwolves rank a measly 25th in the league in field goal percentage at just 43 percent. This has largely come due to Minnesota’s reliance on the mid-range shot, where they’ve put up 122 attempts on the season, converting on just 35.2 percent of them.
For a little bit of context, that’s more shots than Minnesota has taken inside the paint, but outside of the restricted area (120), far more than they’ve taken from corner threes (57) and not all that many less than they’ve taken within the restricted area (205). Each of those shots is far more efficient than the mid-range Minnesota has relied so heavily upon.
In contrast, they’ve been a surprisingly solid 3-point shooting team. As of Tuesday afternoon, the Wolves rank in the top half of the league (11th) at 36.9 percent. That may not seem like much, but considering that they finished 19th in the league last year at 35.7 percent, it’s certainly an improvement.
It’s also notable to mention that while the Timberwolves have had limited attempts from the corner threes, they’ve shot them quite well, with an average shooting clip of 38.5 percent from the left corner and 41.9 percent from the right corner. However, on above the break threes, a reputedly tougher shot, they’re converting on only 35.4 percent.
In other words, if the Jazz defense can make it a point of emphasis to force the Timberwolves into uncomfortable shots from mid-range and above the break, this game could very well swing quite easily in Utah’s favor. Minnesota has some solid offensive players, but their efficiency has been lacking in multiple areas. If that trend continues, expect an unforgiving Jazz D to make it a long and frustrating night for the T-Wolves.