Trade schmade. The real culprit is Minnesota Timberwolves injuries

Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports /

There is plenty of talk about the Minnesota Timberwolves right now. And it all boils down to a Latin saying: Caveat Emptor. That means Let the buyer beware. That seems to be the theme surrounding the recent discussions about the Minnesota Timberwolves, a team that finds itself with a record of 16-18.

There are many fans and now even some Timberwolves blog websites that have determined that through the first 34 games of the first season after adding All-Star center Rudy Gobert to the roster is sufficient evidence to declare the exchange bringing him to the Timberwolves roster the worst trade of all time.

That’s a bit melodramatic, I think.

The Timberwolves are 16-18 after their first 34 games, which is no better and no worse than their 16-18 record after their first 34 games in the 2021-22 NBA season. But there are extenuating circumstances for the team’s struggles. But before we get to that, what’s going on with the hating on that trade so quickly into the season?

The vitriol and disdain are loud and clear and growing bolder with each passing game.  With each loss, more and more add their voices to those who are convinced that the Timberwolves had made another Seward’s Folly purchase, tossing good assets after bad ones. But if those same panicky persons can pause and take a deep breath, there is more afoot here, and the true cause of the Timberwolves’ troubles has very little to do with Gobert not working out for the Timberwolves.

Minnesota Timberwolves roster troubles are simply  . . . these

The true culprit this season so far is injuries.  What do I mean? Not only have the Timberwolves been without PF/C Karl-Anthony Towns for 13 of the first 34 games, but PF Taurean Prince has missed 16 of those 34 games, and backup PG Jordan McLaughlin has missed 17 of those 34 games:

Injuries to three key players, on a 15-player roster, are significant. But these are three players who were counted on to be integral in the Timberwolves’ rotations. The Timberwolves are not progressing with improving their overall play because the coaching staff is too busy trying to patchwork lineups for each game.

What is it about those ‘gotcha’ takes that rallies fans to cheer for misfortune and adversity to be proven correct? It may be that the Timberwolves’ trade for Gobert does prove to have been a mistake. But how can anyone possibly know that just yet, with less than half a season and half of those games played missing key players?

Measure twice, and cut once. Right now, plenty of people are more than happy to point to this Timberwolves team and demand that the team scraps everything. But that is about as wise as amputating a leg after a simple fracture.

The Timberwolves do not need to cut or trade their stars. They simply need to get everyone healthy and on the basketball court together. In the end, it’s not some complex formula, salary cap struggle, or deficit of draft picks that is hurting the Timberwolves right now. It’s just injuries.
There is another saying that applies here: KISS. That means, Keep It Simple, Stupid.

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