The 2023 NBA Draft is rapidly approaching, now mere hours away. And with its approach, we have to pivot from those NBA Free Agent transactions and hone in on what the Minnesota Timberwolves may be up to with the 53rd overall pick, and in the 2023 NBA Draft for that matter.
Let’s recap. The Timberwolves did a lot of heavy lifting through the course of the 2022-23 NBA season, not just in the construction of what the team believes is a strong core, but in tweaking the roster at the 2023 NBA Trade Deadline, finding a much better point guard fit in veteran PG Mike Conley Jr., and young wing Nickeil Alexander-Walker. Their arrival, plus an injury-free season, is enough to shower optimism on this team.
With all of those major changes in the team’s roster, there was no mistaken expectation that everything would flow smoothly out of the gate. But the Timberwolves roster was more than Snakebit last season.
Timberwolves playing catchup all season
Before the season started, newly-acquired All-Star center Rudy Gobert suffered a nagging knee injury. And former center-turned-power forward Karl-Anthony Towns suffered a lingering illness. The starting five did not meet on a basketball court until the very last game of preseason last year.
The fact that the Minnesota Timberwolves felt like the team was stuck in a never-ending game of catching up to the rest of the NBA was not an optical illusion. The Timberwolves lost Karl-Anthony Towns early in the season for a back-breaking 53 games. The team also had to dance around and through injuries to backup PG Jordan McLaughlin, PF Taurean Prince, and nagging injuries to Rudy Gobert.
The Timberwolves managed to tread water long enough to earn a berth in the 2023 NBA Playoffs. But it was a hard climb to get there, and the team was always forced to pursue postseason play.