7 players the Minnesota Timberwolves signed past their prime

Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports /
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Minnesota Timberwolves Austin Rivers Timberwolves Roster Timberwolves All-Time Lists
Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

VII: Take me to the Rivers

When the Minnesota Timberwolves signed veteran guard Austin Rivers, the Timberwolves front office was addressing the need for veteran leadership, perimeter defense, and perimeter shooting in broad brush strokes.

While not exactly a ‘bust,’ in the entire sense of the word, it’s obvious that the Timberwolves’ election to end their relationship with Austin Rivers after just one season sprang from the underwhelming performance that he contributed to the team.

Now, don’t get me wrong. The 2022-23 NBA season was very taxing on everyone on the Timberwolves roster, and through it all, Austin Rivers proved to be that veteran voice of reason. But leadership in the NBA requires more than remaining calm, cool, and collected whenever open microphones are shoved at you.

Lead, follow, or get out of the way

Leadership requires leading by example, and that was where Rivers seemed to fall short.

On paper, it made a great deal of sense to take a flyer on Austin Rivers, a 6-foot-4 combination point guard and shooting guard who would give the Timberwolves some flexibility and versatility in the backcourt. But Rivers’s career average of 8.5 points per game, 2.1 assists per game, and 2.0 rebounds per game seemed like lofty expectations.

Rivers played 10 NBA seasons before joining the Timberwolves roster, and as of this article remains an unsigned free agent.