Where will the Minnesota Timberwolves put them all? After the team had what I consider to be some outstanding success in both the 2023 NBA Draft and throughout their savvy shopping during the 2023 NBA Free Agency market, I had to pause a moment and wonder. How would they fit everyone into the Timberwolves roster?
After all, the team successfully extended four players: Star SG Anthony Edwards, C Naz Reid, SG Nickeil Alexander-Walker, and Two-Way C Luka Garza. The Timberwolves roster added F Troy Brown Jr. and PG Shake Milton via free agency. And finally, the team drafted rookie forward Leonard Miller and rookie shooting guard Jaylen Clark.
The long and winding rehab road
When compiling the initial Minnesota Timberwolves depth chart, it became quite clear that the Timberwolves roster may or may not be saturated, depending on how the team planned to proceed with rookie Jaylen Clark.
The dilemma occurred over Clark and his need to rehab for many more months after an Achilles Tendon injury. Those types of injuries are very difficult to time, as even after getting medical clearance to play, it will still take some time to train the athlete to instinctively trust that ankle once more.
And so, the Timberwolves were at a crossroads. Either this team had one more Two-Way contract to offer (which meant that Jaylen Clark would sign to a 15th slot on the roster on a standard contract), or the Timberwolves have one more roster slot open, and have, for the time being, offered all three Two-Way contracts to players.
Two-Way for now
So what did the Minnesota Timberwolves decide to do? It appears that the latter is true:
I believe that this decision is the correct one. It takes all pressure off Jaylen Clark on his recovery timetable, he can return to the basketball court when he is ready, at his pace, and the level of competition in the G-League will allow him to test his wheels on some practice laps before ramping up to the level of NBA competition right out of the gates.
For the Timberwolves roster, it ensures that the team does not enter the 2023-24 NBA season handicapped with one injured player to begin the season. That will allow the Timberwolves to carry 15 healthy bodies into the season from the start.
This team will still have plenty of new faces to coordinate, communicate with, and build chemistry. But for now, it appears that the first splash of shooting guard Jaylen Clark’s basketball career will occur with the Iowa Wolves.