Some Plan B options
If the Minnesota Timberwolves face a need to reset the entire Timberwolves roster, the team has already built a new Plan B roster into this team. Have you noticed how the Timberwolves have been adding younger players to the Timberwolves roster of late? Hadn’t you noticed?
If you survey the players who did not return from the 2022-23 NBA season, and compare them to the players who will be playing on the Timberwolves roster:
- Player Position Age In/Out
- Leonard Miller Forward 19 In
- Jaylen Clark Guard 21 In
- Troy Brown Jr. Forward 23 In
- Naz Reid Center 23 In
- Nickeil Alexander-Walker Guard 24 In
- Luka Garza Center 24 In
- Shake Milton Guard 26 In
- Taurean Prince Forward 29 Out
- Nathan Knight Forward 25 Out
- Austin Rivers Guard 30 Out*
- Jaylen Nowell Guard 24 Out*
- Matt Ryan Forward 26 Out*
* denotes players who are unsigned as of this article’s publication.
And so, it’s quite clear that the Timberwolves roster has become much younger this offseason. So what? Well, the team has made it quite clear that the focus going forward will be to build a roster suited for 21-year-old star shooting guard Anthony Edwards.
Worst case 2024 scenario still looks very good
Even in the worst-case scenario of a bad 2023-24 NBA season, you can be that the team will continue to surround Edwards with players who complement his play. That means that the team could listen to offers for any player over 25 years of age. That places a tremendous amount of talent into the NBA Trade market at the 2024 NBA Trade Deadline.
Remember, the Timberwolves are not trying to ‘recoup picks,’ as so many fans believe and lobby for. The Timberwolves are trying to improve a roster, and draft picks ultimately involve some level of uncertainty inserted into the equation. To improve the Timberwolves roster, the team will likely be far more interested in young players whose talent and NBA upside improves the team for years to come.
If push comes to shove, the Timberwolves have the following depth chart that is already constructed with a new young core:
- Position Starter Backup
- PG Shake Milton Jordan McLaughlin
- SG Anthony Edwards Jaylen Clark
- SF Jaden McDaniels Troy Brown Jr
- PF Leonard Miller Troy Brown Jr.
- C Naz Reid Luka Garza
While that is a solid and competitive roster, pieces received by any future trades would only add to the team’s roster. And in return for such standout players like Mike Conley Jr., Kyle Anderson, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Rudy Gobert, you could rightly expect at least 1-2 NBA All-Star players.
How bad is the worst-case scenario for the Minnesota Timberwolves? If we stop focusing on the Rudy Gobert trade and look at the Timberwolves roster as a whole, things are actually pretty good. In fact, if you look at the core ‘worst case,’ scenario above, it appears to be as competitive as the Timberwolves roster that got the team to the 2022 NBA Playoffs.
In the end, it’s not the number of draft picks that makes an NBA Championship team, but the number of champion-caliber players. The Minnesota Timberwolves are getting closer all the time.