When I looked over the Minnesota Timberwolves’ history and saw the number of players who the team had given up on prematurely, I was suspicious that had left some names on the table. Those suspicions were confirmed by commenters who cited Chauncey Billups, Ray Allen, Wayne Ellington, Stephon Marbury, and more. Of course, my point is not to revisit organization gaffes of yesteryear, but the Timberwolves have certainly swung and missed at those opportunities that may have improved the team.
While it’s far too small of a sample to suggest that Minnesota Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly will reverse that trend, I have to confess that I’m starting to appreciate those subtle Tim Connelly Timberwolves roster moves already.
Connelly may be a Timberwolves executive who does not play it safe, as was evident when he packaged four NBA draft picks and five players to acquire Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, but he does not throw away any opportunity to improve the team.
Connelly can pick ’em, that’s for sure
After assembling the roster, he had the opportunity to sign two players to 2-Way contracts. While PF Matt Ryan has played as expected for a 2-Way player, center Luka Garza has been a pleasant and promising contributor for the Timberwolves.
As the NBA Trade Deadline neared, the Minnesota Timberwolves roster seemed dysfunctional. Productive players were not stepping up, almost as though they were waiting for someone else to do so. D’Angelo Russell was not doing much to help include the new center Rudy Gobert, instead taking the spotlight himself.
So Connelly acted to acquire Utah Jazz veteran PG Mike Conley Jr. at the trade deadline, trading away PG D’Angelo Russell for Conley, SG Nickeil Alexander-Walker, and three second-round draft picks. We loved the move at the time, but we were not among the group consensus.
Conley feels like the right move for Timberwolves’ roster
Still, as time passes, there are more and more reasons to love the addition of Mike Conley Jr. to this team:
Before Conley’s arrival, the Minnesota Timberwolves appeared to be a group of NBA players who wore the same outfit, a bit like an NBA All-Star team. But since his arrival, this Minnesota Timberwolves roster has taken the form of a true team. Conley does not look for ways to make himself great. Rather, he is always trying to improve his teammates and his team, and the results so far are incredible.
While there are no assurances that the Timberwolves will make the NBA Playoffs this season, the team’s late-season four-game winning streak has been impressive. Not just in the fact that the team is beating some tough competition, but in the way this team is competing collectively.
Some may not be impressed with Tim Connelly, and that’s okay. You have that right. For my sake, I have been impressed with his big moves. But now, I am beginning to appreciate even his subtle moves. So much so that I am looking forward to the 2023 NBA offseason.