The real strength of the Minnesota Timberwolves roster is the pack

Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports /

A group becomes a team when each member is sure enough of himself and his contribution to praise the skills of others.” –Norman Shidle.

When reassessing the challenges that the 2022-23 NBA season posed to the Minnesota Timberwolves, I wonder if we may have missed something. Yes, we all understand that changes were happening at a rapid pace, sure. We all ‘get,’ that the team had to retool over a third of the roster well after the 2022 NBA Draft.

And then, there was that illness of power forward and center Karl-Anthony Towns, the injury that sapped his strength and delivered him to the Timberwolves team appearing as a shade of his NBA-ready self. Then there was that injury to newly acquired center Rudy Gobert, a 7-foot-1 NBA All-Star whose age was already a concern for some fans, but whose sore knees confirmed their fears.

And then, when the season started,  there were more injuries, many more injuries. The team lost PF/C Karl-Anthony Towns for 53 games, power forward Taurean Prince for 28 games, backup point guard Jordan McLaughlin for 39 games, and even lingering ailments that benched Rudy Gobert for 12 games.

Reforming the pack

But it was a byproduct of those injuries that was the real culprit last season. This group of Minnesota Timberwolves players never formed a cohesive team, a group of players whose ability to communicate, and know their own roles as well as the roles of their teammates. But I don’t think the Minnesota Timberwolves roster will be making the same mistake this season:

Why is this so awe-inspiring? Of the group who showed up to get work with their teammates, the future of center Naz Reid, power forward Nathan Knight, and center Luke Garza is very much undecided. And yet, here they are, in their spare time, working on not only their own personal craft but on working out with one another.

Regardless of individual play and talent, the only way for the Minnesota Timberwolves roster to improve any further is to find ways to mesh with one another, organically and fully. Isn’t it awesome to see that is exactly what these players are doing?

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It’s more than just individual stats. To be NBA Champions, the whole must grow far larger than the sum of the parts. An NBA GM or President can only take a team so far. Thankfully, from what we are seeing, the Minnesota Timberwolves players are willing to take it the rest of the way.