Photo: David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

Jarrett Culver started up slow trying to get in sync with the NBA pace. The sixth pick of the 2019 Draft entered the league with the notion that he could become a two-way presence for Minnesota.

The Timberwolves tried to find defensive specialists and two-way players for the last couple of years in the draft and in the trade market. Namely, Josh Okogie, Keita-Bated Diop,Robert Covington and other players were selected by the Wolves with that intention. Despite that, Jarrett Culver entered the NBA with intention of being the one, who will be panned out for Minnessota and in his first season, the rookie is getting their hopes up.

During the first 43 games of the season, Culver’s most important aspect of his game is his defensive value for a bad defensive team. Namely, the Minnesota Timberwolves are 25th in opponents points per game, 16th in defensive rating, 22th(-3.3) in net rating, while they are also 22th in offensive rating and 15th in points per game.

The team is experiencing another bad season without winning being in sight for another year, but Culver is already a valuable piece for the team, complementing the duo of Towns and Wiggins. The trio of Towns, Wiggins and Culver average +5 net rating, when they are taking over the floor.

Furthermore, Minnesota is averaging 115 points per 100 possessions, when the young trio is on the floor, while the Wolves are conceding about 110 points per 100 possessions in the defensive end. The Timberwolves are getting the most from their stars, when Culver is playing with them.

Generally, Culver has the 5th best defensive rating among his teammates (107.7 points per 100 possessions), while being the third most-used player minute-wise for Minnesota (third in minutes with 1065’). On the top of that, he is adequate enough in the secondary ball-handler role, while Minnesota’s offense is more fluent with him being in the floor, as he “eliminates” the over-dribbling of guards like Teague (traded to Hawks last week) and Napier.

As long as defense goes, Culver is “long” and athletic enough to participate in a “switch everything” defensive sequences, keeping his opponents in the middle thirties (36.5%) in FG%, when he is guarding the ball-handler in the pick & roll. Also, he is making his opponent shoot 35% in spot-up situations, while in post-up plays,his opponents shoot in the low 40s.

Culver has his ups and downs in the offensive end this season averaging 9.6 points per game on just 39% from the field, 27% from the arc and a horrendous 46% from the free throw line, but, right now, the Timberwolves don’t need him to score. They need him to cover the defensive deficiencies of their squad and that’s the role he can thrive in his first season in the NBA.

*Stats from