With less than two months until the regular season opener, the Minnesota Timberwolves are gearing up for a highly-anticipated campaign as most experts believe the team has a realistic path to competing for a Top-5 seed in the NBA Playoffs from the Western Conference.
Newly acquired Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert’s arrival will give Timberwolves veteran shooting guard Anthony Edwards, power forward Karl-Anthony Towns, and point guard D’Angelo Russell a chance to flourish on both ends of the floor. Minnesota is set to play five preseason games in early October before starting the regular season at home.
Those five games, four of which are on the road, will give Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch an opportunity to adjust the rotation and test out specific lineups as Timberwolves small forward Jaden McDaniels takes on a larger role, while Gobert and another newly acquired NBA veteran, small forward Kyle Anderson, get acclimated to a new situation.
The first preseason game is a trip to meet the Miami Heat on October 4. Both teams will be selective with minutes but it should be a good early test for the Timberwolves as Miami boasts a talented roster including Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler.
Projecting the Minnesota Timberwolves’ preseason record
Minnesota went 2-0 against the Miami Heat a year ago, highlighted by a 33-point performance from Edwards in a 113-101 win last November. The Timberwolves completed a regular season sweep with a 113-104 win in Miami a few months later.
Preseason games matched up with the Heat, Los Angeles Lakers, LA Clippers and Brooklyn Nets should show how Gobert is handling his new role and if others can continue to play at a high level with him in the paint, which could take some time to adapt and settle in.
Towns led the Timberwolves to three blowout victories over the Lakers last year and will look to keep that going in two preseason games against Anthony Davis and LeBron James. Both matchups are scheduled to take place in Los Angeles.
In between those contests, Minnesota will stay in the city of Los Angeles to play the Clippers on October 9, 2022. It’s unclear if Clippers star Kawhi Leonard will be ready to play by then. The Clippers need Leonard this season, as they are expected to seriously challenge for home court advantage in the playoffs.
The preseason will wrap up with one home game against Brooklyn on October 14. Most coaches don’t play any starters in the last few exhibition games but it will likely be a good chance to see new additions like Timberwolves shooting guard Bryn Forbes and point guard Austin Rivers.
Even though the main objective is to learn how to play together as a team, I’m expecting the Timberwolves to go 3-2 or better in the preseason before hosting Oklahoma City and Chet Holmgren on October 19 to tip off the regular season.