From the moment that the Minnesota Timberwolves announced the hiring of their new President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly, the team has not been the same. Changing a team’s roster can simply happen with one blockbuster trade that sends five players and four first-round draft picks to an NBA Division rival for one All-Star center named Rudy Gobert.
But changing a culture? Now, that takes time.
When Connelly agreed to take the reins of the Minnesota Timberwolves NBA basketball franchise, he was not here to change the roster. He came to change the team’s culture. And so far, that is exactly what is happening.
One year ago, the Timberwolves had just exited Round 1 of the NBA Playoffs as the seventh seed, falling 2-4 to the second seed Memphis Grizzlies. The Timberwolves had made it to the NBA Playoffs before. But the goal was to make it back. From there, the goal is to advance. From there, the goal is to compete in an NBA Championship series. Finally, from there the key is to win that elusive NBA Championship.
That’s changing an NBA team’s culture. That is why Tim Connelly was hired to become the Minnesota Timberwolves team president. That is the job he agreed to do.
“I’m pretty committed to the Minnesota Timberwolves right now”
So when recent NBA rumors linked Timberwolves Connelly to an opening leading the Washington Wizards, a role he had pursued earlier in his NBA career, there were concerns that he may have some interest in doing so.
When the question was posed to him, that seemed to prompt a bona fide response:
Changing a team’s culture does indeed take time. But the Timberwolves have consecutive winning seasons and competed in the NBA Playoffs for two years in a row. In hindsight, that happened despite the team fighting through injury and adversity nearly every step of the way.
This won’t come easy. This will be every bit as difficult as giving up a bad habit like quitting smoking or trying to live a healthier lifestyle and get in better shape. And there will be times that, as a fanbase, we will have legitimate reasons to ask the most basic of questions:
“Is it worth it?”
In the end, it will be. For now, we have to measure progress with landmark achievements, not by inches. The Minnesota Timberwolves are repeating as NBA Playoffs competitors, and the team has the feel of an NBA Playoffs team heading into the 2023-24 NBA season. As for Timberwolves President Tim Connelly? It doesn’t appear that he has plans to go anywhere.