Under coach Tom Thibodeau again, Jimmy Butler is leading the league in minutes per game in his first season with the Timberwolves (Catherine Salaun/Creative Commons).

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A little more than six months after our latest Timberwolves-themed episode, things are looking pretty good for the team currently fourth in the West. Aaron checked in with Billy Bohl, writer for ESPN True Hoop’s A Wolf Among Wolves to discuss a slew of topics, including but not limited to coach Tom Thibodeau’s minutes allocation, 22-year-old phenoms Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, and Jimmy Butler’s multifaceted impact on the organization’s success. Feel free to wolf down some highlighted sections below:

10:00-10:51: “I think it [the third seed] is preferable [to the fourth seed]. But again, you don’t want to look too far ahead…I wouldn’t want to face Russell Westbrook in a playoff series. Right now if they were the third seed, the Thunder would be the sixth seed. No disrespect to them obviously [but] I would much rather face Portland in the first round. It’s hard to decipher just which route you’d want to take. To be perfectly frank, I don’t think they’d have a chance against Houston either. I think they’d be in big trouble in the second round no matter which of those two teams [Houston or Golden State] they faced.”

15:05-15:56: “The Wolves aren’t terribly deep, especially on the wing, and they need Karl-Anthony Towns to be on court when Jimmy Butler is sitting. So they have to stagger those minutes, and that ends up driving up Karl’s minutes a bunch. I don’t worry about it too much as far as Wiggins or Towns is concerned. The part that troubles me a little: I try to be as optimistic as I can, but Jimmy Butler has already had a couple little tweaks to his knee this season. Maybe it’ll be fine this year and next year, but if they’re going to give Butler a huge contract extension, this is something that I worry about when he’s 32, 33, 34 years old, because he’s really taking a heavy, heavy toll.”

19:15-20:10: “It’s hard to overstate it [Jimmy Butler’s impact]. Everything just makes more sense when he’s on the court…There’s a certain fire that Jimmy brings the table, that Andrew Wiggins is much more of a quiet, passive guy, and I think it does affect how he approaches a Tuesday night game against Charlotte or whatever. Jimmy wants to win those games all the time, no matter what. He wants to kick everybody’s butt all the time. And I think that’s infectious.”

35:40-36:20: “Offensively, [Karl-Anthony Towns] is shooting 55 percent from the floor, 43 percent from 3, 85 percent from the line, and he’s 7 feet tall. He has been the best shooter on the team from the day he arrived here. That’s remarkable. That’s amazing. He is a dynamic offensive player. He can beat you in the post, he can beat you getting offensive rebounds, he can step out, he can hit midrange shots, he can beat you so many ways offensively. He’s really not something to be taken for granted by Timberwolves fans. He’s a really, really special offensive player.”

*For those interested, here’s the Players’ Tribune’s Towns-Super Bowl photography post referenced near the end.


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Music: “Who Likes to Party” by Kevin MacLeod