More than a rebound year
Of course, a starting five can only take the Minnesota Timberwolves so far until the team’s bench must step into the game and compete just as ferociously as the starters. The trouble is that by waiving forward Taurean Prince, the Timberwolves’ depth chart and projected rotations are a bit ambiguous right now.
The Timberwolves roster and Timberwolves depth chart can start to congeal as soon as we see which moves the Timberwolves will be making at the onset of the NBA Free Agency market. Due to rescinding a number of team options, the Timberwolves’ number of open roster slots has been growing. Of course, that can all change in the other direction pretty quickly. While the team opted out of guaranteed compensation and team options, the team is still reportedly quite interested in bringing back wing Nickeil Alexander-Walker and forward Taurean Prince, albeit at a more affordable price.
Almost as soon as the Minnesota Timberwolves ended their 2022-23 NBA season, the team almost instantly pivoted to featuring young shooting guard Anthony Edwards as the key cog to make this roster work. That has several implications, and we will point those new roster qualifications out now.
For any basketball player who wants to compete on the same team as Anthony Edwards, they had better be physically and mentally tough. Nothing is more damaging to a team’s chemistry than a rotation where four guys are busting their arses to make plays, while one guy is lollygagging and does not have his head in the game.
We saw evidence of that when center Rudy Gobert was struggling with back spasms in the final game of the season against the New Orleans Pelicans, and his teammate Kyle Anderson confronted him about not exerting enough effort. That confrontation came to physical blows.
The latest draft highlighted two tough-nosed rookies whose attitudes compare to seasoned NBA veterans.
Spread the floor
With a starting five that has center Rudy Gobert in the paint and an attacking Anthony Edwards driving to the basket, the rest of the Timberwolves will need to give both players plenty of room to work near the basket.
That means that the Timberwolves will need many perimeter shooters, which is exactly the same as the shopping list for 29 other NBA teams. Fortunately, the Timberwolves have had success in patiently developing and enhancing their long-range shooting.
The Minnesota Timberwolves certainly felt the squeeze last season with repeated injuries impacting the same position. We know that the Timberwolves found themselves down to Naz Reid as the only healthy center at times in the 2022-23 NBA season, forcing the team to call up center Luka Garza to play a backup role for the team. We also know that due to his discomfort as the point guard, the Timberwolves had to swap D’Angelo Russell’s role with Kyle Anderson and at times Anthony Edwards.
The Timberwolves love versatility in players because it strengthens their ability to improvise with their rotations and plays.
The Timberwolves roster is incomplete right now. But if the team manages to build a roster that truly complements Anthony Edwards, then 50+ wins this season seems very doable. What are your thoughts?