Why the Gobert-Towns sequel will be better
While the Minnesota Timberwolves did not get anywhere close to their money’s worth out of Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns last season, there are many reasons why their second season together will go far more smoothly.
For starters, Rudy Gobert knows the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the Minnesota Timberwolves know Rudy Gobert. 32 games may not be enough time to reach peak performance, but it is a far cry better than starting an NBA season scratching your head and trying to make introductions. And Gobert did come around at the end of the season. In fact, he was quite effective in the 2023 NBA Playoffs.
Conley can make a huge difference
Perhaps an even more critical improvement over last season is the fact that the Minnesota Timberwolves have Mike Conley Jr. at point guard for the entire 2023-24 NBA season. Last year, Russell clearly gave up on working with Gobert, opting instead to hog the basketball and play a high-volume number of shots in the hopes that some would fall.
Conley is a facilitator, just as dangerous from the perimeter at sinking treys, but more interested in distributing the basketball to keep his teammates engaged in the offense. And with less pressure to sink his shots, Conley clearly has a distinct advantage when flipping over to the defense. With Conly on the Timberwolves roster, this team is in a much better position to compete this season.
Towns’ durability dictates how far the Wolves will go in the 2024 NBA Playoffs
Because Karl-Anthony Towns’ availability has waned recently, we featured how his availability for the 2023-24 NBA season would affect the number of wins projected for the Minnesota Timberwolves this season. And yes, how many games Towns plays makes a huge difference for the Timberwolves season.
And why wouldn’t it? Would the Lakers be as successful with only 20 games out of LeBron James? Would the Boston Celtics be the same team with only 20 games out of Jaylen Brown? The answer is obviously no.
But somehow, that sane logic and reason are given a waiver when it comes to assessing the impact of losing Karl-Anthony Towns for two-thirds of the NBA season. I simply cannot buy into that way of thinking, and expect that a healthy KAT will be the icing on the Timberwolves cake this season.
If the Timberwolves win 50+ games this season, is the Gobert – Towns experiment still viewed as a failure? What if the Timberwolves advance to Round 2 of the 2024 NBA Playoffs? Is the only way to view the Gobert – Towns pairing as a success to witness the Timberwolves win the NBA Championship?
Time to wait this one out. The Timberwolves need to build positive momentum. There are plenty of young and talented players on the Timberwolves roster to help carry the load. For now, this team simply needs to get better.