The NBA off-season has been less than dramatic so far, with only a few blockbuster trades. Of course, we have the ongoing Kevin Durant saga, which involves him essentially asking for the removal of both the Nets’ GM and coach, but other than that, it’s been a quiet one!
However, one team that has completely shifted its focus and made drastic changes is the Minnesota Timberwolves. In this article, we’ll look specifically at one trade that is flying under the radar and often considered as an afterthought-the acquisition of Austin Rivers.
Austin Rivers Player Profile
Let’s first look at Rivers’ playing career and what we can expect from him. Obviously, he is the son of celebrated coach Doc Rivers, and there were high expectations from him coming into the NBA as he was the ACC Rookie of the Year and the Naismith Prep Player of the Year. However, he has never reached his full potential and has instead spent most of his career as a non-essential starter or impact bench player.
His best scoring year was at the Clippers in 2017-18, where he averaged 15.1 ppg and 1.2 spg. However, in recent years, he has been hampered by injuries and bounced between teams. His recent stint at Denver was productive, and he remains a talented scorer, a solid defender, and a fast-tempo player that can bring life into any game.
Where Will He Impact the Timberwolves Roster?
If you enjoy placing wagers and using online betting sites to find Kansas free bets, we would place our money on Rivers being a bench player if the option is available. His starting days are long gone, and with the current talent-packed roster the Timberwolves have, it is unlikely that he is going to play more than 25 minutes per game.
We expect the starters to be KAT, Ant, Gobert, Russell, and Kyle Anderson. Russel provides the playmaking, Anderson, and Gobert shore things up on defense, while KAT and Ant are the main offensive threats.
Within this, we can see Austin Rivers substituting in for Anderson and the Wolves’ cornerstone Edwards to give them both a rest. He could inject a little pace, in contrast to Kyle Anderson’s relatively slow and steady approach, and also give Edwards respite. His solid defense, ability to create his own shots, and scoring capabilities, will undoubtedly prove helpful and give Minnesota greater depth and roster variance.
However, with the other plethora of talented players that the Timberwolves still have, it’s clear that Rivers is going to have to fight for his spot and earn those minutes. Other notable bench players who are expected to shine include Jaden McDaniels, Jaylen Nowell, Bryn Forbes, Taurean Prince, and Naz Reid. It’s certainly a stacked roster, but we do feel that Austin Rivers can make a difference and serve as a reliable scoring option.
What Other Important Changes Have Been Made?
While Austin Rivers is an interesting trade acquisition, the blockbuster move was undoubtedly the Rudy Gobert move. This practically broke the basketball Internet and sent everyone crazy. It generated people with polarized opinions, with some stating that the Wolves gave up far too much and others stating that it would take their team to the next level. The Minnesota Timberwolves traded the 3x DPOY for Patrick Beverley, Malik Beasley, Jarred Vanderbilt, Leandro Bolmaro, the draft rights to Walker Kessler, four first-round picks, AND a 2026 first-round pick swap (and breath…)!
This one trade essentially changed their entire roster and potentially their play style. The Wolves have had a fantastic offense and no problem scoring, with Edwards and KAT dropping 25+ easily per night. However, their defense often suffered, and it is hoped that Rudy Gobert will provide that much-needed anchoring in the paint. He is a proven ultra-talented defender with 3x DPOYs and 8x All-NBA First-Team Defensive selections.
Although his offensive skillset is limited, this shouldn’t really be an issue. Sure, we can expect him to still average 10 ppg+ with dunks and putbacks, but KAT and Edwards will continue to be the main offensive threats, with Austin Rivers working as a backup and providing excellent bench scoring.
As you can see, Rivers should certainly have some impact and will provide a reliable bench-scoring option, together with competent defense. However, in the grand scheme of things, the other changes made to the Timberwolves roster are much more important and defining. We can’t wait for the new season to start and see how their drastically altered roster performs, with Gobert spearheading the defense.