How 9 Timberwolves can benefit from the 2023 FIBA WC competition

Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports /
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If iron sharpens iron, then the Minnesota Timberwolves roster will be razor-sharp when the team reconvenes for practice and preseason. After all, international basketball competition seems to be spreading on the Minnesota Timberwolves roster as quickly as the 2020 coronavirus.

It began with Minnesota Timberwolves All-Pro center Rudy Gobert’s 2022 performance in the 2022 FIBA World Cup for his native country of France. While he tweaked himself with a minor injury after the competition ended, an injury that would significantly complicate efforts to get the entire Timberwolves roster on the basketball court and introduce players to one another.

2022 Timberwolves trials and tribulations

As a result, introductions did not take place until the final preseason game last season. And that pretty much set the stage for an underwhelming performance out of the gate. In fact, the unfamiliarity would persist on the Minnesota Timberwolves roster for nearly a month. It was not until this team would fall to a 5-8 record that the pieces began to fall into place.

When it all ‘clicked,’ for the Minnesota Timberwolves, the team enjoyed a five-game winning streak, its longest run of victories all season. Four of those games were on the road. Three of those victories were against 2023 NBA Playoff teams. For all intents and purposes, the Timberwolves had been climbing and the team was about as good as it would become.

As was often the case, the Timberwolves slumped, losing their next three games and two of the three losses came at the hand of bad teams. But the reason all of this is significant is that, at 10-11, the Timberwolves would lose PF Karl-Anthony Towns to an injury on November 28, 2022 loss to the Washington Wizards. That injury would bench him until four months later, returning on March 22, 2023, after the Timberwolves had played to a 36-37 record.