Timberwolves Mike Conley Jr. recognition is key to 2023-24 NBA season

Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports /

Can you ever go wrong by filling an NBA locker room with high-character high-quality players? Hopefully not, because that is definitely the strategy of the Minnesota Timberwolves now. And the quality in the Timberwolves locker room is coming from both the young end of the scale as well as the veteran end.

But in this article, we want to focus on veteran point guard Mike Conley Jr., and the fact that he has recently been honored with the very prestigious NBA Joe Dumar’s Trophy as the winner of the 2022-23 NBA Sportsmanship Award:

Congratulations, Mike Conley Jr.

Conley Jr. is more than just a stabilizing NBA veteran. He is the veteran point guard who arrived at the Minnesota Timberwolves organization at the 2023 NBA Trade deadline and quickly anchored the team with some solid offense, undeniable defense, and a selfless savvy attitude that gave the rest of the roster a new lease on life.

What I love about this award is that it recognizes more than basketball play. If you recall, Joe Dumars was the only Detroit Pistons player who was willing to shake Michael Jordan’s hand after being defeated in the 1991 Eastern Conference NBA Finals. Dumars exemplified the award, as he valued characteristics like humility, goodness, and leadership.

So what does that matter to the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Timberwolves roster? Believe it or not, it’s vital. Here’s why:

Who will lead them on the right path?

The Timberwolves are banking more and more on the rapid development, and maturity, of the young players on this roster. And no matter how highly regarded the Timberwolves coaching staff may or may not be, they only can do so much steering and mentoring to younger players.

Sometimes, it comes down to the veteran players. Veteran point guard Mike Conley Jr. is a class act both on and off the basketball court. That makes a huge, but undetected difference, on the careers and lives of his younger teammates. Lead by an example is almost cliche, but it’s exactly what the Timberwolves roster needs right now.

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I expect that the Minnesota Timberwolves will be much more focused and cohesive this season without in-fighting in the locker room. I believe that PG Mike Conley Jr. makes a huge difference. And it appears that the NBA thinks so too.