3 reasons why Timberwolves rookie Jaylen Clark is worth the wait

Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

Reason I: He is the best defensive player in the rookie class of 2023

It’s one thing to tackle the less glitzy and glamorous task of playing defense, but it’s another matter altogether of playing Jaylen Clark’s level of defense. That is a cornerstone for any NBA Playoff team, but perhaps it adds a bit of extra spice to the Minnesota Timberwolves roster.

The reason for that is the fact that the High Wall defensive strategy employed by the Minnesota Vikings is vulnerable to teams that can score from the perimeter. Teams like the Golden State Warriors, who can launch long-range artillery all day against the Timberwolves, are tough to neutralize because, quite frankly, the Timberwolves simply did not have enough wing defenders.

That has been changing recently:

‘Best perimeter defender in the draft,’ is high praise indeed. But when it is stated by Timberwolves POBO Tim Connelly, it carries quite the endorsement.

Timberwolves Top Defensive team?

With Clark on the Timberwolves roster, suddenly the team has the chance to be an NBA Top-5 defense. Just look at the defensive specialists: Center Rudy Gobert, forward Kyle Anderson, forward Jaden McDaniels, guard Anthony Edwards, wing Nickeil Alexander-Walker (if re-signed), wing Wendell Moore Jr. and guard Mike Conley Jr. all have a dominant defensive presence on the basketball court.

Adding Jaylen Clark to the mix continues to upgrade the Timberwolves’ roster in areas where the team was weak just one year ago.

No, Jaylen Clark does not walk on water. Nor will he step foot onto the basketball court until the 2024-24 NBA season. But that does not diminish just how integral he could become on this Timberwolves roster. Yes, he was selected with the 53rd overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. Current Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic was selected with the 41st overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft by, you guessed it, Denver Nuggets President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly.

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Before the draft, we asked if Connelly had a future NBA MVP in his draft sights. Well, we believe that Clark, after healing and rehabbing, has the makings of someone who could be in the discussion for the NBA All-Defense team in the future. That is pretty good for a late second-round selection.