Cover Photo: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images


When the Minnesota Timberwolves traded Jimmy Butler to the Philadelphia 76ers, it marked the beginning of a new direction for both teams. Obviously, Philly knew they were getting a top-flight player who has been a force in this league for years, but Minnesota has to be thrilled with their return on investment, specifically with small forward Robert Covington.


Since RoCo put on a Timberwolves jersey, the team has gone 6-2 (including four straight wins), and the catalyst for their success has been the team's major improvement on the defensive end. Their defensive efficiency went from being second-worst in the NBA this season to a league-best number over the span of these last two weeks.


It's worth noting the T-Wolves have allowed an average of 97.6 points per game since Covington arrived, and they've kept their last three opponents under 100 as well, which says good things for under bettors.

"I tell [Covington] be ready to play 40 because the way Thibs loves your defense, you can tell," Timberwolves power forward Taj Gibson said. Thibs, being head coach Tom Thibodeau, who is obsessed with making sure the defensive end is locked down.

Not only has Covington been playing great individual defense, but he has also been a huge help to the other players on the Timberwolves -- most notably, Karl-Anthony Towns, whose defensive struggles have been well documented. KAT was the second-worst defensive center (for players averaging at least 25 minutes per game) in the NBA last season, and is fifth worst this year.

"You got to keep him engaged," Covington said. "That's going to allow him to take his game to another level. I've seen it at both ends. A guy that has great talent offensively, but if you engage yourself more on defense, you can affect the game in so many different ways just by your activity."

The T-Wolves and Covington will put their new-look defense on display against the Boston Celtics on Saturday night when they look to keep their winning streak alive.


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Al Walsh is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Al Walsh also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username 14AdotWalsh. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.