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The Minnesota Timberwolves have no shortage of youth or talent on their 2021-22 roster. In fact, entering the season Minnesota had the third-youngest roster in the NBA.

Every Thursday for the rest of the regular season Bally Sports North will feature one young player on the Wolves -- and occasionally with the G League Iowa Wolves -- to see who will rise to the challenge of bringing a consistent, winning team to Minnesota.

This is the 11th edition of the 2021-22 Young Wolves Tracker.

SPOTLIGHT ON …

Guard D’Angelo Russell

After Russell drained 11 of 12 shots in a win at Oklahoma City on Jan. 7, Wolves head coach Chris Finch praised the veteran guard.

“He's an outstanding shooter, one of the best ones in the league,” Finch said. “He's like everybody, goes through a point where they don't see it go in and then they start [to fall]. He has the ability to create his own offense.”

Russell followed that game up by shooting 8-of-14 in a win at Houston two days later.

While Finch noted he talked to Russell about taking some easy shots to get back on track, Russell did hit on 9 of 14 3-point attempts in those two games and then made 4 of 10 from behind the arc at New Orleans on Jan. 11.

Despite Finch’s words, Russell historically has not been a top-flight shooter over his 7 1/2-year NBA career, although he’s been decent from 3, hitting shots from downtown at a 35.9% clip.

While attention has been cast on Russell’s shooting recently, for good reason as noted above, there’s another part of his game which might now be getting overlooked: His distributing.

Russell is averaging 7.0 assists per game this season, which tied his career high set in 2018-19 with Brooklyn.

But it’s been recently, even with his uptick in shooting, where he’s really been racking up the dimes.

Russell has hit double digit in assists in three straight games and five of his last six.

This season, he has seven games with 10+ assists – all of which have occurred in his last 13 games (dating back to Nov. 29). That’s already his second-most games in any season with double-digit assists, topped by only the 14 he had in 2018-19 in 81 games (he’s played in 31 contests so far this season).

On top of all of that, Russell’s offensive rating is the best of his career according to basketball-reference (110; NBA.com has his ORTG as 111.8, the second highest of his career). His defensive rating, via NBA.com, of 102.3 is also the best of his career (next best is 107.9).

Russell has even increased his rebounds per game from last season (2.6 to 3.7).

It’s no small coincidence that in Russell’s 31 games this season, Minnesota is 18-13 (.581).

From shooting to assists to defense, Russell is that all-around point guard the Wolves dreamed they were getting when he was acquired.

WOLF TRACKS

-- Karl-Anthony Towns posted the 10th 40+-point game of his career when he went for 40 points, nine rebounds and seven assists against the Rockets (more on that and the significance here).

-- Anthony Edwards extended his streak of double-digit scoring games to 22. In three games over the past week he averaged 23.7 points, 6.0 assists, 4.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.0 blocks while making 48.3% of his 3-point attempts.

-- Jarred Vanderbilt posted career highs of 21 points and 19 rebounds against Houston. He also grabbed 16 boards against the Thunder on Jan. 7. Vanderbilt is seventh in the NBA in offensive rebounding percentage (12.7%) and eighth in total rebound percentage (18.9%). He’s also quite the thief. In three games last week, Vanderbilt had eight steals. He’s averaging 1.6 steals over just 25.5 minutes and ranks fourth in the league in steal percentage (3.0%).

-- Down in the G League, McKinley Wright II had 39 points, 23 assists and five steals over two games last week.

The Minnesota Timberwolves have no shortage of youth or talent on their 2021-22 roster. In fact, entering the season Minnesota had the third-youngest roster in the NBA.

This is the 11th edition of the 2021-22 Young Wolves Tracker.

SPOTLIGHT ON …

Guard D’Angelo Russell

After Russell drained 11 of 12 shots in a win at Oklahoma City on Jan. 7, Wolves head coach Chris Finch praised the veteran guard.

“He's an outstanding shooter, one of the best ones in the league,” Finch said. “He's like everybody, goes through a point where they don't see it go in and then they start [to fall]. He has the ability to create his own offense.”

Russell followed that game up by shooting 8-of-14 in a win at Houston two days later.

While Finch noted he talked to Russell about taking some easy shots to get back on track, Russell did hit on 9 of 14 3-point attempts in those two games and then made 4 of 10 from behind the arc at New Orleans on Jan. 11.

Despite Finch’s words, Russell historically has not been a top-flight shooter over his 7 1/2-year NBA career, although he’s been decent from 3, hitting shots from downtown at a 35.9% clip.

While attention has been cast on Russell’s shooting recently, for good reason as noted above, there’s another part of his game which might now be getting overlooked: His distributing.

Russell is averaging 7.0 assists per game this season, which tied his career high set in 2018-19 with Brooklyn.

But it’s been recently, even with his uptick in shooting, where he’s really been racking up the dimes.

Russell has hit double digit in assists in three straight games and five of his last six.

This season, he has seven games with 10+ assists – all of which have occurred in his last 13 games (dating back to Nov. 29). That’s already his second-most games in any season with double-digit assists, topped by only the 14 he had in 2018-19 in 81 games (he’s played in 31 contests so far this season).

On top of all of that, Russell’s offensive rating is the best of his career according to basketball-reference (110; NBA.com has his ORTG as 111.8, the second highest of his career). His defensive rating, via NBA.com, of 102.3 is also the best of his career (next best is 107.9).

Russell has even increased his rebounds per game from last season (2.6 to 3.7).

It’s no small coincidence that in Russell’s 31 games this season, Minnesota is 18-13 (.581).

From shooting to assists to defense, Russell is that all-around point guard the Wolves dreamed they were getting when he was acquired.

WOLF TRACKS

-- Karl-Anthony Towns posted the 10th 40+-point game of his career when he went for 40 points, nine rebounds and seven assists against the Rockets (more on that and the significance here).

-- Anthony Edwards extended his streak of double-digit scoring games to 22. In three games over the past week he averaged 23.7 points, 6.0 assists, 4.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.0 blocks while making 48.3% of his 3-point attempts.

-- Jarred Vanderbilt posted career highs of 21 points and 19 rebounds against Houston. He also grabbed 16 boards against the Thunder on Jan. 7. Vanderbilt is seventh in the NBA in offensive rebounding percentage (12.7%) and eighth in total rebound percentage (18.9%). He’s also quite the thief. In three games last week, Vanderbilt had eight steals. He’s averaging 1.6 steals over just 25.5 minutes and ranks fourth in the league in steal percentage (3.0%).

-- Down in the G League, McKinley Wright II had 39 points, 23 assists and five steals over two games last week.

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