With a roster that is bursting with talent, and limited discretionary minutes to distribute to younger players, the Minnesota Timberwolves must quickly pivot from an NBA team that wants to compete in the annual NBA Playoffs, into a team that expects to compete in the NBA Playoffs.
While that may not seem like much of a distinguishable difference, it does carry a noticeable difference in how this team manages minutes. And how this team manages those limited minutes can have a huge say in the direction of this team, the future of this team, and the future of young players who are competing on the Minnesota Timberwolves roster.
For something that seemed insignificant at first, there certainly seem to be significant and long-standing repercussions from what the Timberwolves decide to do this year. So rather than sit back and boo bad decisions after the fact, we believe in being proactive. That means that we will try to set expectations for the team in terms of who to work with, and who may not be the team’s priority in terms of developing into a larger role in the future.
The Timberwolves have one of the best young cores in the NBA. But young players need time, coaching, patience, and opportunity to become NBA star players. That is why the Timberwolves must harness their youth, and focus on developing the most promising players in the bunch. Like who? And who will be left behind? Let’s take a look at some players:
VII: Develop rookie SG Jaylen Clark
While he won’t be competing on a basketball court anytime soon, injured shooting guard Jaylen Clark is arguably the best defensive player selected in the 2023 NBA Draft. The trouble is that the Timberwolves will likely not see Jaylen Clark on the basketball court in the 2023-24 NBA season. That does not mean that the Minnesota Timberwolves are off the hook in terms of working with Jaylen Clark. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Because Jaylen Clark is recognized as the best defender in the rookie class of 2023, the TImberwolves owe it to themselves to work with the young man to restore him to his pre-injury form. Then, after he proves to be back and fully healthy, to develop his raw and incredible basketball talents to compete in the NBA. That will take months, if not years, to accomplish. But like many promising young players, the results will more than justify the work and patience.
Over the next three years, the Timberwolves could add Jaylen Clark’s name to defensive standouts like SG Anthony Edwards and SF Jaden McDaniels. If that happens, this team will be set to compete in NBA Championships for many years to come.