Minnesota Timberwolves: 3 things the Wolves can learn from the playoffs

Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Timberwolves, D'Angelo Russell, Anthony Edwards
Anthony Edwards celebrates with D’Angelo Russell of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images) /

Things the Minnesota Timberwolves can learn: The need for an elite backcourt

The 2021 NBA Playoffs have been dominated by exceptional perimeter play by the game’s brightest stars.

The top scorers up to this point are three guards: Luka Doncic, Damian Lillard, and Donovan Mitchell. Each one is averaging over 30 points per game while shooting over 40 percent from beyond the arc on 10-plus attempts per game. Performances such as Lillard’s 55 point night in Game Five at Denver have proven that no playoff lead is safe thanks to the ubiquitous shooting talent across the league landscape.

While the stellar play of Doncic and Lillard wasn’t enough to get their teams past the first round, other young guards have risen their games to propel teams to successful playoff runs.

Trae Young has averaged over 28 points per game while leading the Hawks deep into the playoffs after Atlanta looked dead in the water at the All-Star break. Devin Booker has taken his game to new heights and has Phoenix Suns fans dreaming of an NBA Championship for a franchise that had not witnessed a playoff berth since Steve Nash was their lead guard back in 2010.

If the 2021 playoffs can teach Minnesota anything, it’s that the need for offensively-gifted backcourt players is at an all-time high. Any team that dreams of making noise in the postseason needs to have one or two players who can create their own shot off the dribble and do damage from the perimeter with the game on the line.

Minnesota Timberwolves President of Basketball of Operations Gersson Rosas is clearly a believer in this postseason trend by the fact that he was willing to pay a premium price to acquire D’Angelo Russell in a blockbuster trade a year ago. Russell’s backcourt partner, Anthony Edwards, also fits the mold of an elite offensive weapon capable of scoring from all three levels.

While Minnesota’s focus this offseason will almost certainly be on addressing the team’s power forward spot, the front office cannot lose sight of the primary puzzle piece towards legitimate contention in the future.

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Once playoff basketball finally arrives in the Twin Cities, Russell and Edwards will be tasked with going shot-for-shot with the likes of Lillard, Doncic, Mitchell, Booker, Curry, and countless other backcourt flamethrowers. Ultimately, the Timberwolves will ultimately go as far as Russell and Edwards can take them.