The Minnesota Timberwolves dove headfirst into the new year facing the challenges of staying above .500 without power forward/center Karl Anthony Towns at the helm. Halfway through their demanding January schedule, the Wolves have won six out of eight games, with eight remaining this month. Minnesota is currently boasting a record of 22-23 and is the ninth seed for the NBA Playoffs at the end of this season in the NBA Western Conference, or as I like to call it, the Wild West.
Over the years low, tier NBA teams have established themselves in a league where dominant franchises have thrived for years. In addition, the Western Conference has a deeper level of Superstar talent which means a stricter route to winning a Championship.
— Daily NBA Fantasy (@DailyNBAFantasy) January 17, 2023
As of now, it looks like no one is safe from the top to the bottom, from the first-seeded team to the 10th-seeded team, especially with the play in the tournament in full effect. Teams are fighting for every spot. But, 7th through 10th in each conference, they will have to earn the right to play in the postseason.
That is a place that the Minnesota Timberwolves do not want to be. The Wolves have had some impressive wins since Towns went down and some rather disappointing ones. Minnesota went on a five-game winning streak but unfortunately fell to one of the worst teams in the NBA, the Detroit Pistons, not just once, but twice. And on both occasions, the games were ones that the Wolves should have won easily.
Timberwolves Head Coach Chris Finch on the loss
Final from Detroit. pic.twitter.com/m807KMkCZH
— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) January 12, 2023
Here is the gist of what he had to say:
“There was zero defensive impact all night. We didn’t do anything to make them uncomfortable. They put 135 on the board, had at least 31 points in every quarter, and shot 60 percent from the floor and 53 percent on 3s.”
One of the Wolves’ worst season losses resulted in shooting guard Anthony Edwards exiting the next game with hip soreness. However, the third-year guard was available for Monday’s game against the Utah Jazz, scoring 29 points, four rebounds, five assists, and three steals in 36 minutes. Unfortunately, Minnesota lost that one as well, by a score of 126-125.
Anthony Edwards strips Malik Beasley, then throws down the transition dunk pic.twitter.com/75xSyYZIuS
— Timberwolves Clips (@WolvesClips) January 16, 2023
With injuries continuing to pile up, Edwards has played every game this season. Minnesota is counting on the 21-year-old to lead the team until Karl-Anthony Towns returns. In addition, Rudy Gobert left the Utah Jazz game early with an apparent groin injury. As a result, Gobert is questionable going forward. He averaged 13.6 points, 11.8 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 1.3 blocks, and 0.9 steals per game this season.
Rudy Gobert (groin) is QUESTIONABLE for tomorrow’s game in Denver.
Edwards (hip) and Prince (ankle) are the same, but both have played the last few games under the same designation.#RaisedByWolves
— Wolves Lead (@TWolvesLead) January 18, 2023
This season, the Minnesota Timberwolves have a record of 10-11 without their Superstar, Karl-Anthony Towns. The NBA-All Star is considered weeks away from returning to the lineup while he continues to recover from a right calf strain.
With the postseason slowly approaching, the time is now to make final roster changes. Trade rumors have been over the place, but the most intriguing conversations have been led around guard D’Angelo Russell. Who aired his thoughts on social media, stating.
Russell emerged as a likely trade candidate for the Timberwolves since last year.
“You either take advantage of me and my ability or f–k up the opportunity with me,”
“It’s as simple as that”
— Travis Jacque’ Rose (@RoseSportsPod) January 14, 2023
The Timberwolves have expressed interest in Jazz point guard Mike Conley. Adding to the uncertainty, Russell and the front office have yet to agree on a contract extension, and there are no signs they will in the future. Ex-Timberwolves guard Patrick Beverley has expressed interest in returning to Minnesota if the Lakers trade him, but he will need to be released or bought out by an NBA team and sign with the Timberwolves for that to become a reality.
With the trade deadline less than a month away, Timberwolves D’Angelo Russell is shooting a career-high 46 percent from the field, averaging 17.1 points and 6.2 assists per game. Finally, the Timberwolves have some decisions, and Russell is putting the league on notice. He wants to get paid.