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 Nickeil Alexander-Walker Timberwolves Roster Anthony Edwards Mike Conley Jr. Leonard Miller Rudy Gobert
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2022 Timberwolves roster low-risk high-reward move

There were more risky moves in the 2022-23 NBA season than simply adding a rim-protecting center. For more than the first half of the 2022-23 NBA season, the Timberwolves roster had to overcome a tremendous disadvantage when one of the team’s scoring stars, Karl-Anthony Towns, was injured.

But even as that was taking place, the Timberwolves also lost veteran power forward Taurean Prince and backup point guard Jordan McLaughlin for extended periods of time as well.  With three key contributors out for lengthy periods of time, the upside for the Timberwolves descended rapidly.

But more than limiting the Timberwolves’ chances for success, so many injuries placed a huge burden on the players who remained healthy enough to play. That meant that rookies and even Two-Way players like Matt Ryan and Luka Garza had to find ways to contribute. And they did. But not everyone was happy with their roles.

DLo doesn’t do that

The Timberwolves roster began to unravel when Towns fell to injury. Until that point, he was the primary focus of involving Gobert in the Timberwolves’ offense. After he fell to injury, the baton was passed to the point guard, D’Angelo Russell. But the problem was that D’Lo was not exactly warm to Gobert. In fact, Russell was so disenchanted with his supporting role for Gobert, that he asked to be replaced.

That led to the team rerouting the point guard duties to PF Kyle Anderson and to SG Anthony Edwards. But what value did a veteran point guard carry on the Timberwolves roster when he was no longer interested in being the point guard? As it turns out, not much. And at the 2023 NBA Trade Deadline, the Timberwolves dealt their cards once more.

When the Minnesota Timberwolves parted ways with PG D’Angelo Russell to acquire veteran point guard Mike Conley Jr., the trade was incredibly risky. It was late in the season, which meant that Conley would not have much time to integrate, let alone lead, the Timberwolves. But complicating matters further, the TImberwolves hovered on the bubble, risking being completely shut out of the 2023 NBA Playoffs after a loss or two.

While the Timberwolves’ inclusion of young shooting guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker in the trade that sent D’Lo to the Los Angeles Lakers may not jump out as a risky maneuver, it had a host of inherent risks. The Timberwolves already had attempted to get playing time from rookie Wendell Moore Jr. with limited success. And like Conley, the Timberwolves only had a limited amount of time to get NAW acclimated to the team before the postseason competition began.