Keys to Timberwolves’ early-season success

Minnesota enters Monday night’s matchup against the Charlotte Hornets with a 10-6 record and tied for third place in the West. What’s attributed to the Wolves’ early-season success? Let’s dive into some key numbers.

3-point shooting: Minnesota drained 10 threes in their win over Charlotte earlier this season. The Wolves have recorded double digit 3-pointers in six games and they have won all six. Compared to last season, the team is also hitting at a higher clip as displayed below.

Comparing this season to last with NBA ranks:

 2016-17 2017-18
3PM/Game 7.3 (30th) 8.6 (27th)
3-point percentage .349 (20th) .377 (8th)
Record with 10+ 3PM 9-8 6-0

Defense: Early in the season, Minnesota was the worst defensive team in the league in terms of opponent’s field-goal percentage but have turned things around recently. The Wolves held the Spurs and Mavericks to an average of 86.5 points and have held their opponents under 100 points in each of their last six wins.

Butler: Jimmy Butler accomplished a rare feat Sunday night against the Pistons, becoming just the third Timberwolves player in franchise history to score at least 25 points with at least 10 rebounds and five steals. Butler has scored 20+ points in four of the last five games. His defense has also been a factor as he ranks fourth in the NBA in steals per game (2.0).

Player Date Opponent Points Rebounds Steals
Tom Gugliotta Jan. 5, 1996 Golden State 36 10 5
Kevin Garnett Jan. 25, 2000 Rockets 27 12 5
Kevin Garnett Jan. 7, 2003 Rockets 25 16 5
Kevin Garnett Dec. 4, 2004 Clippers 25 16 5
Jimmy Butler Nov. 19, 2017 Pistons 26 10 5

Double-double machine: Karl-Anthony Towns has recorded a double-double in 12 games this season. In the league, he ranks 23rd in scoring (20.8 ppg) and seventh in rebounding (11.4 rpg).

Highest percentage of team’s total rebounds in the NBA this season:

Andre Drummond Pistons 36.3%
DeAndre Jordan Clippers 30.7%
DeMarcus Cousins Pelicans 30.2%
Giannis Antetokounmpo Bucks 27.0%
Karl-Anthony Towns Timberwolves 26.6%
Dwight Howard Hornets 26.4%

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