Jimmy Butler has made enough of an impact with the Timberwolves during his first season in Minnesota that it's sometimes easy to forget that although he was the most important offseason acquisition made by the organization, he was hardly the only one.
So if your default expectation with Butler sidelined by a knee injury is to assume the Wolves will regress to 2016-17 levels, when they went a disappointing 31-51, you might need to readjust your thinking.
In the offseason, in addition to getting Butler in a trade, the Wolves added Jeff Teague, Jamal Crawford and Taj Gibson in free agency.
The combination of Teague and Tyus Jones has been objectively better than the duo of Ricky Rubio and Kris Dunn. Gibson has been steady at power forward. Crawford's shooting runs hot and cold, but his streakiness has helped win more games for the Wolves than it has contributed to losses.
Read Michael Rand's blog at startribune.com/randball. firstname.lastname@example.org.