Chemistry 101: Timberwolves Conley and Gobert are dangerously effective

Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

When the Minnesota Timberwolves traded away the last 24 games of PG D’Angelo Russell in the 2022-23 NBA season for PG Mike Conley Jr, SG Nickeil Alexander-Walker, and three future second-round NBA Draft picks, my initial thoughts focused on those draft picks, and how valuable they may become in the hands of Minnesota Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations, Tim Connelly.

The hope was that the Timberwolves might be able to generate some chemistry between Conley and his former teammate with the Utah Jazz, center Rudy Gobert. Lastly, I held almost no expectations for the inclusion of Nickeil Alexander-Walker.

Well, I am delighted to admit that I got it all completely wrong. The best return on that trade appears to be the vibrant energy of SG Nickeil Alexander-Walker, whose performance since arriving on the Timberwolves roster has exceeded all expectations.

Timberwolves Chemistry 101

But the chemistry between Conley and Gobert is rapidly improving, and the impact of Rudy Gobert in the Timberwolves games is noticeably turning to the positive.

That has been confirmed by Minnesota Timberwolves Head Coach Mike Finch, whose job has been made that much easier by swapping out a point guard who was frustrated with the center and didn’t want to play point guard for the Timberwolves for a guy who loves to play the position and is eager to optimize the play of teammate Rudy Gobert however possible.

And so, the nearly left-for-dead Minnesota Timberwolves are on a three-game winning streak during what could be the most important stretch of their 2022-23 NBA season.

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Of course, the Timberwolves will not win out the rest of the way. But despite the absence of one of the team’s top performers, Karl-Anthony Towns, this team is finding a way to scratch and claw its way to stay afloat. That will serve the team very well in the postseason, which is looking more and more likely as the team continues to scavenge for wins as this NBA season draws to a close.