The Minnesota Timberwolves had a busy offseason, swinging one major trade and making a series of free agent signings. Let’s examine what those moves look as of today, about one month into the regular season.
The Timberwolves were expected to make a big leap in production and wins in the 2016-17 season, Tom Thibodeau’s first in Minnesota.
When this didn’t happen and the Wolves missed the playoffs for a 13th straight season, it was clear that some changes would need to happen in the offseason. You’ll recall that there were very few moves in Thibs’ first offseason in Minnesota. But the 2017 offseason offered much greater flexibility for the Wolves to make moves.
Last season, the Timberwolves had five players that were 22 years of age or younger, and each every one of those players were a big part of the team. This offseason, the Wolves got much older while still keeping much of their young talent — minus Kris Dunn and Zach Lavine. Not only did the Wolves attempt to address their experience issue, they also got players that will end up helping them on the defensive end.
With a 2016-17 record of 31-51, the Wolves have a lot of room for improvement. Being in the Western Conference, there are many teams that are fighting for the last few spots in the playoffs. And going against the likes of Golden State, Houston or San Antonio, it is difficult to win with young players and below average defense.
In today’s NBA, the 3-point shot is incredibly important, and the Wolves were last in the NBA in 3-pointers made per game with 7.3 per contest a year ago. There were numerous things for Minnesota to address in the offseason, but two of the most glaring needs for the Wolves were defense, 3-point shooting and experience.
Let’s grade each of the moves that the Wolves made this summer.