The Minnesota Timberwolves built an impressive roster for the 2022-23 NBA season, but when the season arrived, the team blew a tire. For 55 games this season, the only player to suit up for each and every game has been star shooting guard Anthony Edwards. On the other end of the availability spectrum, the Timberwolves have only gotten 18 games from backup point guard Jordan McLaughlin and just 21 games from power forward/center Karl-Anthony Towns. But the word now is that the Timberwolves’ backup point guard will suit up and face the Denver Nuggets.
And that is coming from Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch. That is excellent news.
The Timberwolves have had to cobble some means of competing without McLaughlin over 37 games. That has involved getting more minutes from starting PG D’Angelo Russell, pivoting the floor general role to point forward Kyle Anderson, and even harnessing the versatility of star Anthony Edwards to help run the floor at times.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have needed McLaughlin to return for some time, and the fact that the team has continued to fall to inferior teams this season has been the result. The Timberwolves have lost to the Orlando Magic (22-32), the Houston Rockets (13-40), and the Detroit Pistons (14-40) twice. All four losses were winnable contests, but for unknown reasons, the Minnesota Timberwolves fell from strong competition against competitive teams to a lackluster effort against less competitive teams.
Four wins right now would place the Minnesota Timberwolves at a record of 32-23, and firmly entrenched as the NBA Western Conference third-seed. I believe that a healthy McLaughlin could have made the difference in those four games.
What of the Nuggets? They are going lean in this one:
Will McLaughlin make a difference in tonight’s game? I’d temper expectations, as he has not been competing on the basketball court for several months. But even if he simply absorbs a handful of minutes, that could be enough to keep the rotation rested and fresh enough to pull off a win.