The Minnesota Timberwolves have undergone a significant amount of roster change since this time last year. Only eight players that were on the Wolves’ roster at the start of June 2022 are still with the team to this day.
The Rudy Gobert trade was the first domino to fall in Minnesota’s massive roster overhaul in the last 11 months. After that, D’Angelo Russell’s contract forced the team to make a move at the deadline which resulted in even more roster turnover.
As a result, there are many new faces within the organization. As currently constructed, this group of players only had a few short months to learn to play with each other, and they still ended up eking out a playoff berth despite some nasty injury luck.
Over the course of the 2022-23 season, several Timberwolves performed at such a high level that they should be near untouchable in future dealings. Others still have a ways to go before earning that label.
2 Timberwolves who have earned untouchable status, 2 who haven’t:
Untouchable: Nickeil Alexander-Walker
One of the more underrated additions to the Wolves’ roster in the last year, Nickeil Alexander-Walker was a throw-in piece from the Utah Jazz with the main acquisition in Minnesota’s trade deadline deal being Mike Conley.
Since February, Alexander-Walker has made Tim Connelly look like a genius. He stepped up in a big way for the Timberwolves in the playoffs, becoming one of their most reliable defenders and giving talented players like Jamal Murray all they could handle.
His three-point shot was a major lift for Minnesota at multiple points in the postseason as well. Going forward, NAW will add an extra layer to the Timberwolves’ already deep regime of perimeter defenders. In a very short amount of time, he has gone from an afterthought to a must-have for this team.
Minnesota will be highly skeptical of allowing Alexander-Walker to walk this summer. He will be a restricted free agent, but the front office will at the very least be extending him the qualifying offer worth $7 million to return, if not structuring an entirely new contract to ensure they can keep him.