I am not sure that anyone can truly appreciate the impossible odds that faced Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch this season. His 2022-23 Timberwolves roster was as close to online dating as they get, with the team’s roster coming together virtually long before the full team stepped onto the basketball court together.
In fact, the first time the Minnesota Timberwolves starting five played together was the final preseason game against the Brooklyn Nets. That didn’t give Coach Finch a lot of data or experience to work with in terms of the mix and match to the lineups and rotations to give the Timberwolves an edge in the season.
In fact, it’s probably just as well, because as soon as the team lost starting power forward Karl-Anthony Towns for 53 games, the entire Timberwolves coaching staff was forced to throw all of their plans out the window and simply scramble to find five healthy players to send out to the basketball court who could play different positions.
KAT combinations worked wonders for the Wolves
But along the way, what did the Timberwolves learn about the team over the course of the 2022-23 NBA season?
Have you noticed how the players who played well returned for the 2022-23 NBA season? So who are the best two-player rotations? In the end, the only player NOT back in action for the Timberwolves this season is Taurean Prince. But, all other pairings who found success with Karl-Anthony Towns after his return all showed impressive net ratings:
If you look down the line, almost any two-player combination that involved Karl-Anthony Towns was incredibly effective last season.
Can KAT continue to combine with this year’s Wolves?
And so, the question becomes, can Karl-Anthony Towns continue to combine with players this season effectively? Well, if you look down the list, you see that the only player who is not returning for the Timberwolves is Taurean Prince. But he was consistently playing the role of shooting guard in this example.
So who can the Timberwolves slide into the rotation to help out at that position?
Well, we know that the team has combination guard Shake Milton, a strong perimeter shooter who can play both point guard and shooting guard. We know that the team has forward Troy Brown Jr., a player whose role expanded to cover the 2, 3, and 4 positions. And we know that the Timberwolves added rookie Leonard Floyd, whose skillset projects him to slide into any position on the basketball court as soon as he proves to possess the ability to sink his shots in the NBA.
And there is also the return of SG Wendell Moore Jr. and the anticipated arrival of injured SG Jaylen Clark.
While there is so much talk about trading away Karl-Anthony Towns from the Timberwolves roster, one thing is clear. As long as he is healthy enough to suit up, Towns is incredibly versatile on the team. And he truly brings out the best of his teammates.