Mike Conley will need time to integrate into Timberwolves lineup

Mandatory Credit: Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports /
2 of 3
Minnesota Timberwolves News Timberwolves roster Mike Conley
Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s now or never

So the Timberwolves, realizing that the time was now or never, pushed the button and activated the trade machine before the deadline. The Timberwolves off-loaded PG D’Angelo Russell for the final 24 games of the 2022-23 NBA season. In exchange, the Timberwolves acquired three second-round NBA draft picks, Jazz PG Mike Conley, and SG Nickeil Alexander-Walker. While Alexander-Walker’s contract expires at the end of this season, the Timberwolves will have another season with Conley running the floor.

Will Conley have enough time to get fully integrated into the Timberwolves roster? That is a huge question and remains to be seen.  Some good news is the fact that he played, and started, for the Utah Jazz team in the past that performed very well. In fact, since the 2019-20 NBA season, he was the teammate of Utah Jazz star shooting guard Donovan Mitchell and center Rudy Gobert. In fact, they competed on the same Jazz roster for three NBA seasons.

The Utah Jazz Triad

In their three seasons together, Gobert-Conley-Mitchell helped lead the Utah Jazz to records of 44-28 (2019-20), 52-20 (2020-21), and 49-33 (2021-22).  While the Minnesota Timberwolves are not the Utah Jazz, you could make an argument with the acquisition of both Gobert and Conley that the Timberwolves front office is trying to take the best pieces of that Utah Jazz roster that was close-but-no-weo and improve upon it to get the new Timberwolves roster ahead of the curve.

The two biggest disparities between the current Timberwolves team and the successful Jazz lineups is the fact that the Jazz turned out to be much more effective at sinking their perimeter shots. They shot 38.5 percent accuracy from the perimeter, while the Timberwolves are only hitting 35.6 percent of their three-pointers. Another difference is the fact that the Jazz rebounded more effectively than the Timberwolves. The Jazz averaged 48.3 rebounds per game, while the Timberwolves have only mustered 41.4 rebounds per game.