Minnesota Timberwolves mailbag: What does this summer look like?

MIAMI, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 26: Juan Hernangomez hugs Malik Beasley after they defeated the Miami Heat. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 26: Juan Hernangomez hugs Malik Beasley after they defeated the Miami Heat. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Timberwolves, Karl-Anthony Towns, D'Angelo Russell
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – FEBRUARY 8: Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) stood beside guard D’Angelo Russell (0) for the national anthem. (Photo by Aaron Lavinsky/Star Tribune via Getty Images) /

Question: “Based on current roster, do we miss the playoffs next year?” -Timberwolves UK

To answer this question, let’s assume that Minnesota returns the same roster next year. With a summer to develop, the team should seemingly be a better basketball club.

The youth on this roster has shown a lot of unique skillsets and ability to develop into important pieces for an NBA team. The G-League has been an instrumental part of the development of the young players on this team. The growth of Jordan McLaughlin and Naz Reid has been both encouraging and surprising.

No too often do we see a player on a two-way contract play well enough for the President of Basketball Operations to trade away the team’s only backup point guard on a full NBA contract, but that is what has happened with McLaughlin.

Related Story. Timberwolves: Tracking new players' progress part 2. light

Naz Reid was an undrafted free agent that Rosas scooped up quickly after the draft this past summer, and after an impressive showing at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, Reid signed a team friendly four-year contract. Reid has been forced into a starting role in the absence of Towns, and he has put together some quality performances coupled with a few down games. This is to be expected with such a young and inexperienced player, but the bright spots have been encouraging.

With all the praise given to the young talent on the roster, I will say that I don’t believe this team would make the playoffs next year. The playoff locks in the Western Conference this season show no signs of slowing down next year, and the teams on the bubble are likely going to keep improving. This would leave little opportunity for the Wolves to sneak in, even as an eight seed.

This isn’t to say that the team won’t be improved next season. This squad could certainly be a competitive team next season, but the Western Conference is loaded with talent and open playoff spots appear to be few and far between for subpar teams out west.

For this team to make the playoffs in the 2020-21 season, moves would need to be made. I expect Rosas to be aggressive this summer, especially with the two first-round picks (assuming Brooklyn makes the playoffs.) If there are no desirable moves to be made, I’d expect Rosas to stand pat and use both picks to bolster the roster and/or select players to develop into trade assets for the future.