When the Minnesota Timberwolves traded D’Angelo Russell in a three-team trade that sent him to the LA Lakers, some fans fretted for two reasons. First and foremost, they pointed to the fact that DLo has been a bit more productive recently, and feared that the Timberwolves would never find a replacement on the roster until Karl-Anthony Towns returned, whenever that might be.
Of course, the second fear is that by agreeing to participate in that trade, the Timberwolves paved the way for the LA Lakers, a team that is competing for an NBA Western Conference Playoffs berth to get better. That may or may not come to pass.
What some seemed to ignore completely is the Timberwolves’ part of the equation. It’s quite understandable because even the most expert NBA analysts and pundits seemed to ignore the Timberwolves’ acquisition of point guard Mike Conley as anything more than a ‘meh,’ when the reality is that it’s Conley’s arrival that could prove to be the key to the Timberwolves finishing strong in the 2022-23 NBA season.
The Timberwolves get another shot at a win
There was no way that the Minnesota Timberwolves could count on a win with Mike Conley in his debut. That was a road game against the Memphis Grizzlies, and he was still making introductions to his teammates. But the truth of the matter is that he was reacquainting himself with his former teammate, center Rudy Gobert, and learning the strengths and the weaknesses of everyone else on the basketball court.
But the Timberwolves had another chance, this time on the road against the powerhouse Dallas Mavericks, who have been looking like a true NBA Playoff team since adding G Kyrie Irving to their roster. Irving propelled the Mavericks to two quick wins, and many NBA analysts quickly proclaimed that he was the missing piece that could give the Mavericks a paved highway to the postseason. They lost to the Sacramento Kings on the road, in overtime, but were confident in their chances at hosting and defeating the Timberwolves.
But that’s not how Mike Conley Jr. read the script.
Conley can run the floor
You may think that the Minnesota Timberwolves lost another trade, but if you do you likely formed that opinion prematurely. With Conley aboard, the Timberwolves roster appears back in their comfort zone. Kyle Anderson is back to playing minutes off the bench. A very versatile and productive Taurean Prince absorbed 22 minutes as well as a rare start. Center Rudy Gobert not only hauled in 14 rebounds, but he scored 21 points on perfect nine of nine shooting from the floor.
Of course, Anthony Edwards put up 32 points to lead the Timberwolves. But let’s not overlook Mike Conley’s 12 points and nine assists, while shooting 50 percent from the perimeter.
All in all, it led to the Timberwolves getting a huge road win against the Doncic-Irving-Wood Dallas Mavericks in Dallas. The Timberwolves who have yet to get Karl-Anthony Towns in the lineup, just took down one of the hottest teams in the NBA on their court. And they did it.
So far, the Conley-led Timberwolves are 1-1 in his first two games. Now, let’s see where he leads the team from here.