These Timberwolves roster moves aim at NBA Championship

Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports /
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Minnesota Timberwolves Timberwolves News Timberwolves roster Rudy Gobert Leonard Miller
Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports /

2022 Timberwolves roster high-risk high-reward move

It should come as no surprise that the Minnesota Timberwolves’ riskiest move from 2022 was trading for All-Star center Rudy Gobert. After all, trading away a package of five players (mainly to balance the NBA salary exchange) and four first-round draft picks appears to be an incredible price to pay. But it was also the most necessary move. Let me explain:

After the Minnesota Timberwolves finished the 2021-22 NBA season, the team exhausted the best outcomes from that roster. The team struggled to play solid defense, and those players who could defend could not sink their shots. The Timberwolves roster was at their high water mark. But traders know the secret to success is to sell high and buy low. And that is what the Timberwolves did.

Everyone concluded that the Timberwolves had to add a solid rim-protecting center to have a shot to advance in the NBA Playoffs. In fact, after the Timberwolves put up a 46-36 record in the 2021-22 NBA season, the Timberwolves were in a difficult spot. While the team had rapidly improving players in young shooting guard Anthony Edwards and small forward Jaden McDaniels, the team’s window of opportunity with veteran center (soon-to-be power forward) Karl-Anthony Towns had peaked.

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From a four to an eight-player postseason lineup

And like it or not, point guard D’Angelo Russell’s struggles to defend left the Timberwolves one NBA star shy of having any chance at competing for and winning an NBA Championship. We knew this when the Timberwolves sat Russell against the Memphis Grizzlies. But we’ll focus on that in the next slide.

The key to competing effectively in the NBA Playoffs is to get there and then have a solid eight-player tight rotation that can carry the team to the promised land. But the Timberwolves roster was not set up like that. In fact, before adding Rudy Gobert, the Timberwolves had a solid four-player lineup, and then about five players who were interchangeable.

As soon as the Timberwolves roster added Gobert, the team had an opportunity to reset their configuration. That is exactly what the team did. The team signed veteran forward Kyle Anderson, guard Austin Rivers, and guard Bryn Forbes. The plan was to establish the Timberwolves High Wall defense, and then add perimeter shooters and defenders to make it all go.